Dri Archer

AFC Notes: Colts, Jets, Bills

Some assorted notes from around the AFC…

  • There’s no denying Anquan Boldin‘s professionalism, but ESPN.com’s Mike Wells says the veteran wideout may not necessarily be a fit for the Colts. The writer refers to the organization’s last three veteran receiver signings (Darrius Heyward-Bey, Hakeem Nicks, Andre Johnson) and their lack of production.
  • The Colts have not had any discussions with Dwight Freeney regarding a return to Indy, tweets ESPN’s Mike Wells. The writer notes that the organization prefers to develop their younger pass rushers.
  • Rex Ryan has coached a number of talented receivers throughout his career. However, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com notes that the current Bills head coach was particularly infatuated with Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. while coaching the Jets. “Believe me, I was trying to trade for him [with the Jets] when he had the hamstring,” Ryan said. “I was reading the [New York] papers, and I was like, ‘Well, hell, we’ll take him.'”
  • The Bills placed running back Dri Archer on the reserve/did not report list earlier this week, and Ryan acknowledged to Tyler Dunne of The Buffalo News (via Twitter) that the former third-rounder still hasn’t returned his calls.


Bills Place Archer On Did Not Report List

One of the newest members of the Bills has apparently gone AWOL. The team announced that running back Dri Archer has been placed on the reserve/did not report list. Dri Archer

[RELATED: Bills’ Shaq Lawson To Have Shoulder Surgery]

Archer, 25 in August, was claimed off waivers from the Jets roughly one week ago. Known for his speed, Archer owns the second-fastest 40-yard dash time (4.26 seconds) in NFL history and the team was hoping to utilize his quickness in the return game. The reason for Archer’s absence is not yet known, but it’s possible that the tailback is daunted by the team’s running back depth chart.

The Bills’ group of running backs is headlined by LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams at tailback with two other promising young players behind them in Mike Gillislee and fifth-round running back Jonathan Williams. James Wilder Jr., who came to the club on a reserve/future deal in January, is also in the mix. Archer probably didn’t have a great chance of seeing significant carries in Buffalo and his place on the roster was far from guaranteed to begin with.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Edelman, Bills, Archer

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman recently underwent left foot surgery but is on track to return for training camp, sources tell Adam Schefter and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Edelman recently was spotted in New York City with a protective boot on his foot and riding around on a motorized device after having undergoing a “cleanup procedure” (link). Julian Edelman (vertical)

Last year, Edelman missed roughly half of the regular season due to his foot injury. In nine games, the 29-year-old caught 61 passes for 692 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Here’s more out of the AFC East:

  • The Patriots worked out wide receiver LaRon Byrd on Wednesday, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Byrd has had previous stints with Arizona, Dallas, Cleveland, and Miami. Washington released Byrd earlier this month.
  • Joe Buscaglia of WKBW looked at how running back Dri Archer could fit in with the Bills. Buffalo already has LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams at tailback with two other promising young players behind them, so he feels that Archer’s best chance at cracking the roster would be to make it as a kickoff/punt returner. In 2015, the Bills were one of the worst teams in the league when it came to returning the ball on special teams, so Archer’s speed could provide a big boost in that area.
  • A phone call from Bill Belichick sealed the deal for undrafted running back D.J. Foster to sign with the Patriots, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. “I was talking to a few teams at the time, but when I got the chance to talk to Coach Belichick, I kind of took a step back and talked to my family, figuring out what’s right for me in my life as a young adult,” the former Arizona State athlete said. “I thought it was the best decision for me.” Foster was a hybrid receiver/tailback in college but so far the Patriots have been utilizing him as a running back in practice. For his part, Foster says that he isn’t bummed out about going undrafted and says he’s excited about the opportunity that he has in New England.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/10/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • Fullback Toben Opurum was claimed by the Broncos after he was waived by the Saints, Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune writes. Opurum, 25, has been with the Saints since the end of the 2014 season. In a related move, the Broncos have waived tight end Anthony Norris, Troy Renck of The Denver Post tweets.
  • The Bills have claimed running back Dri Archer off waivers from the Jets, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes. Rodak notes that Archer owns the second-fastest 40-yard dash time (4.26 seconds) in NFL history. Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin holds the third-fastest time.
  • The Colts have claimed quarterback Josh Woodrum off waivers from the Giants, as Mike Wells of ESPN.com tweets. In a related move, the Colts waived-injured tight end Mike McFarland. McFarland will go on the Colts’ IR if he clears waivers. As for Woodrum, he becomes the team’s fourth QB on the depth chart after Andrew Luck, Scott Tolzien, and Stephen Morris.
  • The Rams released wide receiver Isiah Ferguson, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). To replace him, the Rams have inked wide receiver J.J. Worton (link).
  • The Vikings announced that they have waived safety Johnny Lowdermilk. The arrival of Lowdermilk will make room for the addition of running back C.J. Ham, whose signing was reported on Monday. Ham, a Duluth native, rushed for 1,097 yards and 16 touchdowns in his final season at Augustana University.
  • The Texans waived outside linebacker Eric Lee, who had signed as undrafted free agent from South Florida, John McClain of The Houston Chronicle tweets. Lee was making the transition to outside linebacker from college defensive end, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle notes (on Twitter).
  • The Packers announced the signing of safety Marwin Evans. Evans, 23, finished his collegiate career at Utah State. The Milwaukee native started 13 of 27 games played for the Aggies, recording 83 tackles (36 solo), 10 tackles for a loss, two sacks, an interception he returned 90 yards for a touchdown, three forced fumbles and five pass breakups.
  • The Giants‘ signing of Matt Smalley will wait until the Lafayette cornerback is done with his finals, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News (on Twitter). That will give Big Blue time before they have to release someone from the 90-man roster.
  • The Giants released linebacker Uani Unga (Twitter link via SiriusXM).
  • The Rams signed former Auburn wide receiver Duke Williams after his recent tryout, Vincent Bonsignore of the Daily News tweets.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/9/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Jets announced that they have claimed tight end Jerome Cunningham and waived running back/kick returner Dri Archer. Cunningham played in nine games for New Jersey’s other team in 2015, catching the first eight passes of his NFL career. Cunningham, a three-year starter at Southern Connecticut State, has managed to stay local since entering the NFL in 2014.
  • The Jets also signed cornerback Bryson Keeton and waived tight end Adrien Robinson (link). Keeton, a 6’2” defensive back, played two seasons at Montana State and defended a total of 21 passes over the last two years.
  • The Chiefs claimed guard Jordan Devey off waivers from the 49ers, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. Devey unexpectedly made his way into the Niners’ starting lineup to open the 2015 season. Although he was replaced down the stretch, the 28-year-old made nine starts and played nearly 400 offensive snaps for San Francisco in 2015.
  • The Buccaneers signed three tryout players (link): Texas Tech linebacker Micah Awe, Kansas State defensive tackle Travis Britz, and Louisville tackle Kelby Johnson. The team also welcomed back wide receiver Andre Davis. To make room, UDFAs tight end Tim Brown (West Chester), linebacker Tyson Coleman (Oregon), and defensive tackle Jontavius Morris (Western Kentucky).
  • Kutztown wide receiver Anthony Kelly, signed last week by Buccaneers as undrafted free agent, is no longer with team due to an issue with his knee, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
  • The Vikings (Twitter link) announced the signing of cornerback Tre Roberson and wide receiver Troy Stoudermire. Kentucky State cornerback Eric Rawls, announced as a UDFA signee last week, did not end up inking his deal, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). The team’s roster is now at 90.
  • The Cardinals signed running back Elijhaa Penny (Idaho) and wide receiver Chris Hubert (Fayetteville St.) while cutting running back Jared Baker and outside linebacker Mike Reilly (Twitter link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com).
  • Washington released safety Tevin Carter (link).
  • The Texans signed former New Mexico outside linebacker Ryan Langford following a successful tryout, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • The Packers cut former Rice wide receiver Dennis Parks, Wilson tweets.
  • The Chiefs cut offensive lineman Mike Liedtke, according to freelance reporter Jenna Laine (on Twitter).
  • The Vikings signed running back C.J. Ham out of Augustana University, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press tweets. The deal should become finalized on Tuesday.
  • The Packers signed tight end Casey Pierce, defensive tackle Demetris Anderson, running back Brandon Burks, fullback Alstevis Squirewell, and guard Cory Tucker and released defensive tackle Josh Boyd, defensive tackle William Campbell, tight end David Grinnage, and tackle Jeremy Vujnovich.

Jets Sign Dri Archer

The Jets have signed former Steelers third-round running back and return man Dri Archer to a reserve/futures contract, the team announced today in a press release. Archer finished the 2015 season as a free agent after being cut by Pittsburgh, meaning he didn’t have to wait until March to sign with a club.Dri Archer

Despite being selected with the 97th overall pick in 2014, Archer didn’t see much action after joining the Steelers, with all 17 of his offensive touches coming in his rookie year. He had been Pittsburgh’s primary kick returner in 2015 before his release, averaging 25.3 yards on 14 attempts, but was cut when the team picked up Jacoby Jones to fill that role.

A report shortly after Archer’s release in November suggested that he had received and passed on offers from 10 teams to join their practice squads. At the time, the Kent State product reportedly planned to wait and see whether he got any offers to join a 53-man roster, but apparently such an opportunity never arose, since Archer didn’t sign anywhere for the rest of the season.

Archer, who worked out for the Jets in November, could have a decent opening to earn a roster spot in New York this season. The club’s three top running backs – Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, and Stevan Ridley – are all eligible for free agency, and no player on the roster has a stranglehold on the kick return duties, which were split last season by Zac Stacy and Antonio Cromartie.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Workout Notes: Seahawks, Colts, Bears

The Kendall Hunter tour continues. On Tuesday, the Seahawks tried out the running back, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Hunter, who has seen his NFL career derailed by injuries in recent years, was removed from Sam Francisco’s injured reserve list in September with a settlement, making him a free agent. Last week, he tried out for the Jaguars, but that audition did not immediately lead to a deal.

Here’s a roundup of Tuesday’s notable workouts from around the NFL:

Extra Points: Gabbert, Pitta, Archer

No surprise here, but 49ers coach Jim Tomsula announced that Blaine Gabbert will start for SF once again when the Niners take on the Seahawks in Week 11, as Taylor Price of 49ers.com writes. Gabbert completed 15 of 25 passes for 185 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in Sunday’s Week 9 home win over the Falcons and, at least for now, it sounds like former starter Colin Kaepernick should make himself comfortable on the bench.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • A decision will be made by Wednesday on whether tight end Dennis Pitta makes a comeback this season from his second serious hip injury, as Clifton Brown of CSNMidAtlantic.com writes. According to Ravens coach John Harbaugh, the decision comes down to Pitta’s long-term health, not his ability to play again. “He did look good in practice,” Harbaugh said. “We had a tough time covering him. He was doing stuff for the look team and made a bunch of plays out there. He just kind of looked like his old self out there. But don’t construe that as saying that he’s ready to go, because it’s not about that. The doctors are going to take a hard look at that, and help him decide, is this safe? It’s going to be based on how the hip is responding to the practices.” Pitta, 30, enjoyed his best season in 2012 when he helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl, catching 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season, followed by 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns during the playoffs.
  • The Saints worked out former Giants wide receiver Preston Parker on Monday, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Parker, 28, has 85 career receptions for 1,057 yards and five touchdowns.
  • Running back Dri Archer has passed on ten offers to join practice squads, including an offer from the Steelers, a league source tells Mike Florio of PFT. Archer, a third-round pick in 2014, instead plans to wait and see whether any opportunities arise to join a 53-man roster. Florio speculates that his opening might be with the Patriots now that Dion Lewis is done for the year.

Steelers Claim Jacoby Jones Off Waivers

The Steelers have claimed wide receiver and return man Jacoby Jones off waivers, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). According to La Canfora, Pittsburgh is hoping the former Raven can give the team a spark in the return game. In a press release, the club confirmed the move, noting that Dri Archer has been waived to create room on the roster.

Jones was released by the Chargers earlier this week, less than eight months after signing a two-year, $5.5MM deal with the Bolts back in March. After averaging 30.6 yards per kickoff return and 9.2 yards per punt return for Baltimore last season, Jones saw those averages dip to just 21.4 and -0.8 for San Diego in 2015. The Steelers will be hoping for something closer to those ’14 numbers from Jones once he arrives in Pittsburgh.

By claiming Jones on waivers rather than waiting for him to clear and attempting to sign him, the Steelers will take on his old contract. The structure of the deal won’t be bad on his new team though, since his overall base salary for 2015 is just $900K, as opposed to $3MM in 2016. Unless Jones has an incredibly second half in Pittsburgh, he’s unlikely to return at that price next season.

Since waiver order is determined by current records, with the league’s worst teams getting a higher priority, the Ravens had an opportunity to claim the 31-year-old before the Steelers did, but it appears Jones’ old team passed on him. Prior to the trade deadline, Jones would have immediately been free to sign with another team if he had been cut, but from now until the end of the season, all players – including veterans – must pass through waivers before becoming free agents.

As for Archer, the Steelers’ third-round pick from 2014 hasn’t seen much action since joining the franchise, with all 17 of his offensive touches coming in his rookie year. He had been Pittsburgh’s primary kick returner this season, averaging 25.3 yards on 14 attempts. Archer should be a candidate to join the Steelers’ practice squad if he clears waivers.

AFC North Links: McCarron, Ravens, Archer

With one preseason game down, Bengals website editor Geoff Hobson provides a position-by-position roster rundown. Of note, rookie quarterback’s A.J. McCarron’s 2014 prognosis is unknown because of his shoulder issue, and Hobson says “it looks like he’s not coming off PUP anytime soon and that the Bengals think he needs a long rehab.”

Keep reading for more NFC North links…

  • The Ravens’ selection of Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley 17th overall was universally praised, and the rookie is justifying the pick and the praise, writes Aaron Wilson in the Baltimore Sun.
  • Ravens 2013 fifth-rounder Rick Wagner, expected to take over the right tackle job, played well in the team’s first preseason game, according to Wilson, who quoted head coach John Harbaugh: “I think someone wrote it earlier, you don’t notice him much. That’s a good thing for a right tackle, and he seemed like he played that way. And at the end of the day, he was solid and on his targets, and footwork was good. He’s a good, solid football player.”
  • Asa Jackson has taken an early lead over Chykie Brown for the Ravens’ third cornerback job, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. Jackson, 24, is a 5-10, 182-pound third-year pro out of Cal Poly who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. Jackson has a skill set, including ball skills, to cover slot receivers, but he’s yet to play a defensive snap thanks, in large part, two a pair of Adderall-related suspensions totaling 12 games.
  • Steelers veterans are anxious to see rookie Dri Archer put his rare speed on display, writes TribLive.com’s Mark Kaboly. Says Ike Taylor: “He is going to be a matchup problem for a lot of teams. He just has it. Dri just has it. Anytime he touches the ball or anytime you know he’s getting the ball, you kind of stand up and pay attention.”
  • Everyone will be tuning into the Browns-Lions preseason contest to watch Johnny Football, but Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot provides four other things to watch, including the competition for carries between Ben Tate and rookie Terrance West.