Edwin Baker

Saints Slim Down Roster To 53

One season and two training camps proved sufficient for the Saints to determine whether Stanley Jean-Baptiste was capable of making an impact for them.

They determined the 2014 second-round pick wasn’t good enough for their roster, notes Katherine Terrell of NOLA.com. Jean-Baptiste only played eight snaps last year and as a result of this move, Brandin Cooks is the only player remaining on the team from last year’s draft class.

The Saints instead kept 2014 undrafted free agent Brian Dixon, who played 166 snaps as a rookie, among their seven-cornerback contingent.

New Orleans did not keep veteran receiver Josh Morgan, either, and will go with a mostly young receiving stable, excepting Marques Colston.

Jairus Byrd also avoided having to start the season on the PUP list, per Terrell.

The Saints’ other cuts are as follows:

  • Justin Anderson, LB
  • Edwin Baker, RB
  • Nick Becton, OL
  • Orson Charles, TE
  • Henry Coley, LB
  • Jerry Franklin, LB
  • Mike Golic Jr., OL
  • Ryan Griffin, QB
  • Bryce Harris, T
  • Sean Hickey, OL
  • Seantavius Jones, WR
  • Dustin Hopkins, K
  • Cyril Lemon, OL
  • Chris Manhertz, TE
  • Joseph Morgan, WR
  • Toben Opurum, FB
  • Sammy Seamster, CB
  • Alex Smith, TE
  • Pierre Warren, S

Sean Payton: Marcus Murphy “Making This Team”

The Saints have a very crowded backfield attempting to make the 53-man roster, and seventh-round pick Marcus Murphy has made his mark on the head coach during the preseason, as Sean Payton made a definitive statement about his status.

In response to a question, Payton responded talking about Murphy, writes Evan Woodbery of NOLA.com (via Twitter). “He’s making this team,” said the Saints coach.

If Payton is to be believed, and there is no reason he shouldn’t be, that would put Murphy squarely in the role of fourth running back. He won’t necessarily see the field much on offense, but he will handle returning duties for New Orleans. That kind of faith has written the book for some of the other tailbacks competing for a spot on the depth chart.


Mark Ingram is ingrained as the starter, and C.J. Spiller is expected to make the team as a notable free agent acquisition this offseason. Khiry Robinson looked like a good bet to make the team as a spell back, and he performed well when called upon the past two seasons.

That leaves Tim Hightower and Edwin Baker on the outside looking in. Both players have performed well this preseason, with the veteran Hightower impressing early in training camp with his abilities as a runner, receiver, and pass protector. The former Cardinal has struggled with injures, and if the Saints pass could be looking at his NFL mortality.

Baker scored a 45-yard touchdown in the preseason game today, which unfortunately for Payton led to a question about his chances of making the team. Payton misunderstood, leading to the statement about Murphy, according to Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com (via Twitter). He embarrassingly realized this later, and had to backtrack because it is highly unlikely Baker makes the team (via Twitter).

Minor Moves: Tuesday

We’ll round up Tuesday’s minor moves from around the NFL right here, including transactions by teams still in the playoffs as well as clubs looking ahead to next year:


  • The Lions have signed TE Ifeanyi Momah to a 2015 reserve/future contract, according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com (on Twitter).


  • The Chiefs signed former Seahawks tailback Spencer Ware, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (via Twitter).
  • Jets quarterback Matt Simms reworked his contract today to avoid becoming an exclusive rights free agent in 2015, according to a team release. The club also added kicker Andrew Furney and running back Daryl Richardson on reserve/futures deals, in addition to the six players whose reserve contracts we heard about yesterday.
  • In addition to confirming reserve/futures contracts for Garrison Smith and Chris Martin, as was reported yesterday, the 49ers announced in a press release that they’ve signed running back Kendall Gaskins, tight end Xavier Grimble, wide receiver Lance Lewis. All five players finished the season on San Francisco’s practice squad.
  • Running back Terrance Cobb announced (via Twitter) that he has signed a futures deal with the Raiders. Cobb initially signed with the Jaguars as an undrafted rookie in May, and was cut in the preseason.
  • The Bears may not have a head coach or GM, but they’re still adding players to their roster — Chicago signed defensive end Jamil Merrell to a reserve/futures contract, the team announced today (via Twitter).
  • Former Canisius College basketball player Chris Manhertz announced (via Instagram) that he has signed a contract with the Bills. According to Joe Buscaglia of WGR550 (via Twitter), the ex-hoopster projects as a tight end. The Bills have since confirmed the signing of Manhertz, and announced a deal for fullback Corey Knox as well.


  • Offensive tackle Justin Renfrow has been released from the Packers‘ practice squad, creating an opening on the unit, according to the team.
  • The Steelers have also made a change to their taxi squad, signing wide receiver Tim Benford and releasing cornerback Jordan Sullen, per Burt Lauten (via Twitter). The addition of Benford provides some insurance for the receiving corps, after the team cut wideout Justin Brown from its active roster today.
  • The Browns signed a pair of kickers, Travis Coons and Carey Spear, to reserve/futures contracts, the club announced today, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). The two kickers join seven other players who signed futures deals yesterday with Cleveland.
  • The Jaguars have signed offensive lineman Cody Booth, tight end Marcel Jensen, defensive back Peyton Thompson, and wide receiver Tony Washington to reserve/futures contracts, tweets Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. All four players spent time on the club’s practice squad this season.
  • The Saints signed five more players to reserve/futures deals, according to Evan Woodbery of the Times-Picayune, who lists running back Edwin Baker, kicker Dustin Hopkins, tight end Orson Charles, and offensive linemen Mike Brewster and Andrew Miller as the latest recepients. We learned yesterday that the club also signed wideout Willie Snead and fullback Toben Opurum to futures contracts.

Minor Moves: Thursday

We’ll keep tabs on Thursday’s minor transactions, including practice squad signings and cuts, in this post, with the latest updates added to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • The Bills have made a change to their 53-man roster, claiming tight end MarQueis Gray off waivers and cutting running back Phillip Tanner to make room, tweets Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Gray was cut yesterday by the Vikings to accommodate the team’s waiver claim of Ben Tate.

Earlier updates:

  • A pair of players recently cut from their respective teams’ active rosters have re-signed to those clubs’ practice squads. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports (via Twitter) that safety Steven Terrell is back with the Seahawks‘ taxi squad, while Mike Triplett of ESPN.com tweets that running back Edwin Baker has rejoined the Saints‘ unit. Tauren Poole was cut from the Saints’ practice squad in a corresponding move.
  • After carrying an empty spot on their 53-man roster for a couple days, the Titans have filled it by promoting linebacker Justin Staples from their practice squad, the team announced today (Twitter link). Staples, who was cut by the Browns prior to Week 1, had been on the Titans’ practice squad since mid-September. The team has signed linebacker Yawin Smallwood, who was selected by the Falcons in May’s draft, to replace Staples on the taxi squad.

Saints Place Brandin Cooks On IR

Saints quarterback Drew Brees will be without one of his favorite targets for the remainder of the season, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com, who reports (via Twitter) that the team placed wideout Brandin Cooks on injured reserve today, ending his rookie campaign. Cooks reportedly broke his thumb during Sunday’s loss to the Bengals and had been expected to miss four to six weeks.

Cooks, the 20th overall pick in May’s draft, was an all-purpose weapon for the Saints in his first NFL season, racking up 550 receiving yards on 53 catches to go along with 73 yards on seven rushes. In addition to his offensive contributions, which included four touchdowns, Cooks also returned 10 punts for the club.

The Saints also completed a handful of other moves today, according to Yates (Twitter link). Safety Rafael Bush joins Cooks on the IR list, while running back Edwin Baker has been waived by the team. With the three newly-opened roster spots, New Orleans signed linebacker Moise Fokou, cornerback Terrence Frederick, and safety Pierre Warren. Frederick had been on the Saints’ own practice squad, while Warren was signed away from the Vikings’ unit.

More Minor Moves: Saturday

Our first post featuring the minor moves of the day filled up pretty quickly, so here is a second place to see some of Saturday’s later day transactions. As always, if there are any more moves, this post will be updated at the top.

Practice Squad Updates: Tuesday

We’ll round up Tuesday’s practice squad signings and cuts right here, with the latest news added to the top of the list throughout the day….

  • The Chiefs have signed fullback Jordan Campbell and tight end Justin Jones to the practice squad, according to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). To make room, they have released cornerback Robert Steeples.
  • The Cowboys announced (via Twitter) that they have released cornerback Jemea Thomas from the p-squad and re-signed fullback Nikita Whitlock.
  • Running back Edwin Baker has replaced cornerback Trevin Wade on the Saints‘ practice squad, tweets Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
  • Defensive end James Davidson, who was in camp with the Bengals, is set to fill the 10th and final spot on the Giants‘ practice squad, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • The Rams have removed linebacker Kevin Reddick from their practice squad, says Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter).
  • The Chiefs have cut tight end Adam Schiltz from their practice squad, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).

Earlier updates:

  • Besides confirming the previously reported re-signing of linebacker Darius Fleming to their practice squad, the Patriots also announced several more moves today. Offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann and defensive lineman Kona Schwenke are now part of the club’s 10-man unit, while defensive lineman Cam Henderson and running back Marcus Thigpen have been cut.
  • The Browns have signed linebacker Allen Bradford to their practice squad, cutting wideout Ifeanyi Momah, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Safety Josh Aubrey has taken the place of wide receiver Travis Labhart on the Texans‘ practice squad, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston (Twitter link).
  • The Redskins announced today (via Twitter) they’ve signed defensive lineman Hebron Fangupo to their practice squad, cutting another defensive lineman, Dennis Hopkins, to clear an opening.
  • Defensive tackle Roy Philon has re-signed with the Bears‘ practice squad, leaving the team with three openings on the taxi squad, the team confirmed (via Twitter).
  • The Panthers have signed former Redskins’ sixth-round running back Lache Seastrunk to their practice squad, the team announced today (Twitter link).
  • Offensive lineman Emmett Cleary has joined the Bengals‘ practice squad, replacing tight end Ryan Otten on the unit, according to the club (via Twitter).
  • The Colts have swapped one guard for another on their practice squad, dropping Josh Walker and signing David Arkin, the team announced in a press release.
  • After promoting tight end Marcel Jensen to their 53-man roster, the Jaguars have filled the 10th and final spot on their practice squad by adding offensive tackle Cody Booth, tweets John Oehser of Jaguars.com.
  • Fullback Zach Line, waived from the 53-man roster over the weekend, has joined the Vikings‘ practice squad, per Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link).
  • The 49ers made several changes to their practice squad last night. In addition to confirming the signing of tight end Xavier Grimble, which was previously reported, the club also signed cornerback Leon McFadden, dropping linebacker Shayne Skov and defensive back Chance Casey to make room, according to Brian McIntyre (via Twitter).

South Notes: Colts, Saints, Newton, Titans

With Robert Mathis now sidelined for the season with a torn Achilles, the Colts will have to turn to other players to jump-start their pass rush, and head coach Chuck Pagano says the team will consider all its options. However, as Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star writes, the Colts are in a tough spot when it comes to adding outside help. The free agent list is very thin when it comes to pass rushers, and Indianapolis would prefer not to give up future draft picks to acquire a player via trade. In Holder’s view, the club may have to rely on its in-house options to attempt to fill Mathis’ shoes.

Here’s more from around the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett passes along a report from colleague Field Yates, who says the Saints auditioned a handful of players on Monday, including running backs Michael Ford, Edwin Baker, and Tauren Poole, and tight ends Michael Egnew and David Paulson (Twitter link).
  • There wasn’t necessarily any urgency for the Panthers to restructure Charles Johnson‘s contract, but the team did so anyway, clearing more than $5MM from its 2014 cap. David Newton of ESPN.com wonders if the move might be a precursor to locking up Cam Newton to a contract extension sooner rather than later.
  • Tight end Michael Flacco, whose brother Joe Flacco quarterbacks the Ravens, is working out for the Titans today, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).

Browns Cut Anthony Armstrong, 13 More Players

The Browns have terminated the contract of veteran wide receiver Anthony Armstrong, the team announced in a press release. Armstrong, 31, was signed in March — the fact that he couldn’t make a depleted WR corps in Cleveland doesn’t bode well for his NFL future. The Browns also waived 13 players, meaning their roster count sits at 76:

Browns Expected To Sign Ben Tate

Free agent running back Ben Tate is expected to sign with the Browns today, according to John Telich of Fox 8 News in Cleveland. The deal, contingent on Tate passing a physical, is reportedly performance-based, says Telich (via Twitter).

Tate, 25, has played 40 games over three seasons (nine starts in place of injured starter Arian Foster) and totaled 421 carries for 1,992 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns with 58 receptions for 287 yards (4.9 yards per catch) and zero touchdowns. However, he has been on IR twice in his young career. He missed 2010 because of a broken ankle and dealt with foot, hamstring and rib injuries in 2012.

Tate would join a crowded, albeit undistinguished, Cleveland backfield which includes Edwin Baker, Dion Lewis, Chris Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whittaker.