Drew Butler

AFC East Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Patriots

With free agent signee T.J. Yates the favorite to act as the Bills‘ backup quarterback behind Tyrod Taylor, and fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman now in tow, Cardale Jones — a fourth-round selection just a year ago — is not a lock to make the Buffalo roster, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes. The Bills are unlikely to keep four signal-callers in 2017, meaning Jones could be the odd man out. “You kind of sit around all day, try to go in there. You wait on your opportunity all day,” Jones said. “Your number is called, and you kind of didn’t take advantage of it.” Jones, 24, appeared in only one game in 2016 (the season finale), during which he completed six of 11 attempts for 96 yards and one interception. For what it’s worth, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott said Thursday that Jones is “absolutely in the mix” for a roster spot, tweets Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Searching for versatility in their defensive backfield, the Dolphins haven’t yet decided whether Walt Aikens will play cornerback or safety, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details. “[Aikens] is a big athlete,” said defensive coordinator Matt Burke. “He’s obviously a huge asset to us on (special) teams. We like having a versatile player in that role on the roster, so Walt has done a good job. Again, we’re trying to put him maybe in a spot that he’s not as comfortable and see how he responds, and he’s done a good job working for us so far.” No matter where the 25-year-old Aikens lands position-wise, he’s likely to act as a reserve, as he saw only 15 defensive snaps in 2016. But as Burke suggested, Aikens is a key special teams player, as he played on nearly 80% of the Dolphins’ ST snaps last year.
  • The Patriots auditioned a number of special teams players last week, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, who reports punters Spencer Lanning and Drew Butler, kicker Adam Griffith, and long snapper Cole Mazza recently worked out for New England. Lanning hasn’t seen an NFL field since 2015, but does offer experience, as he was the Browns’ regular punter from 2013-14. He worked out for the Saints last summer. Butler, meanwhile, appeared in 54 games over four seasons with the Cardinals, but was waived on two separate occasions last year.
  • Former Dolphins executive Dawn Aponte has been hired as the NFL’s chief administrator of football operations, reports Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter link). Aponte, who had also spent time with the Browns and Jets, left Miami’s front office in September to work for Dolphins owner Stephen Ross‘ Drone Racing League. Per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, Aponte will now report to vice president of football operations Troy Vincent in the league office.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/13/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Seahawks have made a series of roster moves, announcing that they’ve signed running back Kelvin Taylor and cornerback Ronald Powell to their 53-man roster while placing running back Troymaine Pope and fullback Will Tukuafu on IR. Tay is the son of former NFL great Fred Taylor.
  • The Bears have signed tight end MyCole Pruitt off the Vikings‘ practice squad, tweets Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispacth, while Chicago announced that it has cleared a roster spot by waiving defensive back De’Vante Bausby. Pruitt, a 2015 fifth-round pick, has played in 18 games over the past two years.
  • The Packers will sign linebacker Jordan Tripp, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Tripp, primarily a special teamer, was recently waived off Seattle’s IR.
  • John Hughes won’t be staying home alone any longer, as the Buccaneers announced that they’ve re-signed the veteran defensive tackle. Hughes, 28, has already played in three games for Tampa this season.
  • The Ravens announced that they’ve placed running back Lorenzo Taliaferro on injured reserve and signed linebacker Lamar Louis to the active roster. Taliaferro, a 2014 fourth-round, hasn’t been able to get on the field in Baltimore, as he’s managed only 14 carries over the past two seasons. The Ravens are also promoting WR Michael Campanaro, tweets Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun.
  • The Rams have signed cornerback Troy Hill from the practice squad and placed tight end Cory Harkey on injured reserve, the team announced today. Hill had been waived following a DUI arrest, but has now earned a second chance on the roster.
  • The Bills signed safety Shamiel Gary and offensive lineman Michael Ola to the active roster, per a club announcement. Linebacker Bryson Albright has been waived in a corresponding transaction.
  • The Redskins announced that they’ve promoted linebacker Nick Moody from the practice squad to the active roster and placed defensive end Anthony Lanier on injured reserve. Lanier, 26, has 25 games of NFL experience under his belt since entering the league as a San Francisco draft pick in 2013.
  • The Cardinals have swapped out punters once again, announcing that they’ve waived Drew Butler in favor of Matt Wile, who was promoted from the practice squad. Arizona also signed quarterback Zac Dysert off the taxi squad.
  • The Falcons have re-signed cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson, the team announced today. BWW had just been waived last week in order to clear a spot for wide receiver depth.
  • The Browns announced that they’ve promoted DL Gabe Wright from the practice squad to active roster. Wright, a former Detroit draft pick, was claimed by Cleveland earlier this year.

NFC West Notes: Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals

After suffering a leg injury last night which will sideline him for the remainder of the season, Seahawks safety Earl Thomas tweeted that retirement had crossed his mind, and as he tells Ed Werder of ESPN.com (Twitter links), he’s still considering his options. “I’m taking it one day at a time,” said Thomas. “I still feel the same way I felt last night. You have to remember my team is still fighting I don’t want to become a distraction.” One positive is that Thomas won’t require surgery, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), which should ease his recovery and rehab process.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • The Rams recently announced an extension for head coach Jeff Fisher, but that doesn’t mean the club won’t part ways with Fisher after the current season, per Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. The new deal, which was reportedly agreed to over the summer, only runs through 2017 before containing an option for 2018. As such, Los Angeles wouldn’t be on the hook for much money if it chose to fire Fisher after this year. In fact, the extension is viewed as more of a “token of appreciation” from owner Stan Kroenke to Fisher rather than a sign that Fisher will be around for the long haul, writes Gonzalez.
  • Cardinals general manager Steve Keim told reporters that he was not pleased with punter Drew Butler‘s play on Sunday against Washington, tweets Darren Urban of AZCentral.com. Butler re-signed with Arizona late last month after previously having agreed to an injury settlement. Cards head coach Bruce Arians confirmed that the club will work out an unidentified punter on Tuesday, per Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910 (Twitter link).
  • Although a weekend report indicated that “confidants” believe Arians could consider retiring from the Cardinals after the 2016 campaign, Arians himself told reporters that the news was false, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter links). “First of all, I don’t have that many friends,” said Arians, before adding that he’s “damn sure” he’ll be coaching in 2017.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/15/16

  • The Cardinals announced re-signed punter Drew Butler and cut Ryan Quigley. Butler was previously released with an injury settlement by Arizona on October 4 following a calf issue, but now he’s back in the fold.
  • The Chargers have waived center Chris Watt with a failed physical designation, a source tells Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union Tribune (Twitter link). Injuries limited the former third-round pick to 17 games in his first two years and prevented him from taking the field so far in 2016. Watt, who had been on the PUP list, will revert to IR if he clears waivers.
  • The Vikings signed offensive tackle Rashod Hill to the 53-man roster off of the Jaguars‘ practice squad, as agent Brett Tessler tweets. Hill will help provide depth in the wake of Jake Long‘s season-ending injury, which has landed him on injured reserve.
  • The Bears announced that they’ve promoted offensive lineman Cornelius Edison from the practice squad. He’ll take the place of OL Kyle Long, who was officially placed on IR.
  • The Cowboys are promoting wide receiver Vince Mayle from the practice squad to the active roster, according to a tweet from his agents at Reign Sports. Mayle is a former fourth-round selection of the Browns.
  • The Colts announced that they have claimed linebacker Deon King off waivers from the Chargers and waived wide receiver Marcus Leak.

Extra Points: RG3, Packers, Cardinals, Texans, Hawk

RG3‘s shoulder will be re-evaluated this week to gauge where he is in his recovery, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal tweets. The evaluation may determine whether surgery is needed for the Browns quarterback.

In the Browns’ season opener against the Eagles, Griffin completed 12 of 26 passes for 190 yards and added 37 rushing yards, but suffered a fractured coracoid bone in his left shoulder. He could technically return around the middle of the season, but early word is that he likely won’t see the field until 2017.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Packers plan to stand pat with Richard Rodgers and Justin Perillo at tight end for the time being, as ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky writes. Starter Jared Cook will be sidelined from 4-to-6 weeks, but the Packers feel they can get by if Cook’s layoff is on the early end of that range. “That’s the plan as I stand here today,” coach Mike McCarthy said.
  • Punter Drew Butler — whom the Cardinals waived on Tuesday — can re-sign with Arizona in six weeks, reports Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). That means Butler and the Cards must have agreed to three-week injury settlement, because a player cut with a settlement must wait an additional three weeks on top of the time of the original settlement before re-signing with the club.
  • Texans running back Jonathan Grimes (fractured fibula) will likely be out at least a few more weeks, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • A.J. Hawk‘s one-year deal with the Falcons is for the veteran’s minimum, but does contain a $15K signing bonus, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Hawk will play middle and outside linebacker for Atlanta, per McClure.
  • The Texans’ one-year deal with defensive end Antonio Smith is for the veteran’s minimum, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Prorated for 13 games, Smith will count for just under $500K on Houston’s salary cap
  • Former Green Bay defensive end Josh Boyd will work out for the Seahawks on Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Boyd suffered an ankle injury in 2015 that limited him to just two games. In 2014, Boyd tallied 22 tackles and one pass deflection in 15 games (four starts).

Cardinals Place RB Chris Johnson On IR

The Cardinals are placing running back Chris Johnson on IR with a groin injury, according to a team announcement. Safety Tyvon Branch is also headed to the IR with the same injury. Chris Johnson

In theory, both players could be eligible to return on December 4th for the Cards’ home contest against the Redskins. However, that will depend on the condition of each player and the team will also have to prioritize them against other candidates to return from IR. Each team can have a player return to action after eight weeks, but they can do only do so with one player.

Johnson had 95 yards and one touchdown off of 28 carries this season as he played the backup role behind David Johnson. Andre Ellington, who was once supposed to be the main guy in Arizona, now moves into the No. 2 RB role.

To replace Johnson on the roster, the team officially re-signed running back Kerwynn Williams. Also, with Carson Palmer‘s status in the air (concussion), the team also promoted quarterback Zac Dysert from the practice squad. Versatile wide receiver/defensive back Brittan Golden was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster. In other moves, punter Drew Butler (calf) was waived with an injury settlement and safety Christian Bryant was added to the practice squad. The team still has one opening on the taxi squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Browns, 49ers, Patriots, Cardinals

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • The Browns tried out defensive end Sterling Bailey and wideouts Antwan Goodley and Mitch Mathews, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • After retiring, Anthony Davis owes the 49ers quite a bit of money, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Davis owes $1.235MM for 2016, which is 14/17th of his salary for the year. Then, if he remains retired, he’ll owe $1.5MM in 2017. The lineman is already familiar with the process of refunding San Francisco after giving back $1.667MM in 2015. Davis could return to football at some point, but it sounds like he is over the day-to-day grind that it takes to play in the NFL.
  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was asked how long the team would keep punter Drew Butler on the active roster. “As long as we can,” the coach responded (viaFox Sports 910’s Mike Jurecki on Twitter). “That will all depend on other injuries.” The Cardinals recently signed punter Ryan Quigley to fill in for the injured Butler, who’s battling an injured ankle.
  • Chris Long‘s tenure with the Patriots doesn’t need to be a “one-year fling,” writes Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. Of course, the defensive end gave a very Belichickian response when discussing his future with the franchise. “One way to get yourself in trouble as a football player is to think past this week or today,” Long said. “You can’t take anything for granted as far as going out and practicing, going to play on Sundays. If you keep things one day at a time and you keep it narrow, I mean, there’s nowhere I’d rather be today. That’s the way I come to work every day.” Long will be earning $2.37MM this season.

Cardinals Re-Sign Drew Butler

WEDNESDAY, 8:42am: Butler’s new two-year deal with the Cardinals calls for base salaries of $700K and $1MM, per Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Those annual figures fall short of the $1.2MM per-year average initially reported by Getlin, so perhaps there are additional bonuses or incentives that increase the overall value of the contract. Somers notes that the pact doesn’t feature a signing bonus.

MONDAY, 10:50am: The Cardinals have re-signed punter Drew Butler, who had been on track to become a restricted free agent, the team announced today in a press release. According to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network (Twitter link), Butler’s new deal is a two-year contract that pays him $1.2MM annually.Drew Butler

Butler, who started his career with the Steelers, took over as the Cardinals’ full-time punter in 2014 and hung onto the job last season. On 60 attempts in 2015, Butler averaged 42.9 yards per punt, with a 35.4 net-yard average and just six touchbacks. While the 26-year-old figures to enter the 2016 season atop the Cardinals’ punter depth chart, the team could bring in another player to compete with him.

Assuming Getlin’s report on the terms of Butler’s new deal is accurate, it looks like a pretty good price for the Cardinals — a $1.2MM per-year salary barely places Butler within the top 20 highest-paid players at the position, per Over the Cap.

Still, since he had only been eligible for restricted free agency, it makes sense that Butler would be open to accepting an offer that will likely give him a modest guarantee and a little security. Had the Cardinals assigned a low-end RFA tender to him, he would be in line for a slightly larger annual salary (around $1.5MM), but it would only be for one season, and would be fully non-guaranteed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Sign Drew Butler; Zastudil To IR

The Cardinals have finalized a series of roster moves today, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (via Twitter). In addition to signings linebacker Marcus Benard and placing linebacker Matt Shaughnessy on injured reserve with the designation to return, moves which were reported yesterday, the club also signed punter Drew Butler to the 53-man roster, placed punter Dave Zastudil on IR, and signed quarterback Dennis Dixon to the practice squad.

Zastudil, who was hampered by health issues earlier in the season, re-injured his groin during Sunday’s game in Denver, prompting the team to turn to Butler instead. Zastudil will spend the rest of season on the injured reserve list, assuming the Cards don’t release him with an injury settlement at any point.

As for Dixon, his spot on the practice squad is worth noting. With both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton ailing, head coach Bruce Arians suggested yesterday that if his club were to add a quarterback, it would be one who knows his system. Dixon was a Steeler for several seasons back when Arians was running Pittsburgh’s offense, so the 29-year-old signal-caller fits that bill. If one or both of Palmer and Stanton can’t go this weekend, Dixon would likely be promoted to the active roster.

Butler had previously been on Arizona’s practice squad, so no one had to be cut to make room for Dixon.

Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

Here’s the latest practice squad news from around the NFL..

  • The Jaguars have re-signed two players to their practice squad in receiver Kerry Taylor and tight end Marcel Jensen, reports John Oehser of the O-Zone (via Twitter). The team has waived tight end Michael Egnew and linebacker Marcus Whitfield to make room for the new additions.
  • The Cardinals have re-signed punter Drew Butler to the practice squad, reports Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (via Twitter). They have released defensive tackle Christian Tupou to make room for Butler.
  • The Jets are continuing to upgrade their cornerback position, signing LeQuan Lewis to the 53-man roster from their practice squad, reports Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter). Another cornerback, Marcus Williams, took Lewis’ spot on the practice squad, reports Brian Costello of the New York Post (via Twitter).

Earlier Updates:

  • The 49ers re-signed tight end Asante Cleveland to the practice squad, according to CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Barrows (on Twitter).
  • The Saints signed center Alex Parsons to their practice squad and released guard Antoine McClain to make room, according to Ramon Antonio Vargas of The Advocate (on Twitter).
  • The Giants announced that they have added former Raiders wide receiver Juron Criner to their practice squad, according to Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger (on Twitter). To make room, they have released fellow wide receiver L’Damian Washington.
  • The Buccaneers have filled their practice squad openings by adding fullback/tight end Ian Thompson, linebacker Shayne Skov, and defensive end T.J. Fatinkun, according to Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (on Twitter). Skov was expected to sign with Tampa Bay following a successful workout.
  • The Titans announced on Twitter that they have added quarterback Brad Sorensen to their practice squad and released cornerback Ri’Shard Anderson to make room.