Godwin Igwebuike

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/27/22

Here are Tuesday’s practice squad additions and subtractions:

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: CB Ryan Smith
  • Released: LB Forrest Rhyne

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Carter spent last season as a full-time Panthers starting linebacker, but after signing a one-year deal with the Chiefs, the vested veteran could not make his new team’s 53-man roster. The former fifth-round pick has 30 career starts. The Browns just lost linebacker starter Anthony Walker for the season.

An NFLer since 2017, Hollister signed with the Raiders this offseason. But the team released him from IR via settlement earlier this month. Hollister, who caught six touchdown passes with the Seahawks from 2019-20, spent last season with the Jaguars.

Smith, 29, spent five years with the Buccaneers, ending that run as a backup cornerback and special-teamer for Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl LV-winning team. A starter for the 2017 and ’18 Bucs, Smith played in four Chargers games last season.

49ers Place RB Elijah Mitchell On IR, Add RB Marlon Mack

Elijah Mitchell‘s run of injuries continued with an MCL sprain. This is viewed as a rather severe MCL issue, with Kyle Shanahan expecting his starter to be out for around two months. As such, Mitchell landed on the 49ers’ IR list Tuesday.

The 49ers brought in several backs for auditions Tuesday. Old friend Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman, ex-Jet La’Mical Perine and ex-Lion Godwin Igwebuike came in for workouts, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Marlon Mack visited with the team, and this appears to be the direction it will go. The 49ers are signing Mack to their practice squad, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

This will be Mack’s first move out of the AFC South; the former fourth-round pick has spent his career with the Colts and Texans. Houston, however, did not keep the former 1,000-yard rusher on its 53-man roster out of training camp. The Texans cut Mack, in moving their roster to 53, and then released him from their practice squad.

Mack, 26, saw a September 2020 Achilles tear throw his career off track. The Colts turned to 2020 second-rounder Jonathan Taylor, and although they re-signed Mack in 2021, the latter did not see much action last season. The Colts discussed possible trades ahead of last year’s deadline, and the 49ers were one of the teams to express interest. But Mack played out his second Colts contract, residing behind Taylor and Nyheim Hines on the depth chart.

Mack signed his second straight one-year, $2MM deal this offseason, joining the Texans, but will come to San Francisco for P-squad money. Mack, who rushed for 55 yards against the 49ers in this year’s Texans preseason finale, totaled 2,099 rushing yards from 2018-19.

Freeman and Coleman, of course, teamed up as part of potent Falcons backfields during the 2010s. They split up in 2019, with Coleman signing with the 49ers. Freeman also played for Shanahan in Atlanta, being the team’s starting back during both of Shanahan’s OC seasons. Coleman signed a two-year 49ers deal in 2019 and played with ex-49ers assistant Mike LaFleur in New York last season. Perine’s Jets stint also overlapped with LaFleur’s.

For now, Mack is the 49ers’ choice. The sixth-year veteran joins a team rostering Jeff Wilson, third-round pick Tyrion Davis-Price and rookie Jordan Mason at running back. Wilson is expected to be the 49ers’ starter during Mitchell’s absence, and the 49ers played Mason — a UDFA out of Georgia Tech — over Davis-Price in their opener.

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.

What Lions’ RB Depth Means For Roster Spots

The 2021 Lions saw injuries nag at their running backs room throughout the season last year and were forced to rely on the backs they had stashed further down on the roster. Coming into the 2022 NFL season, Detroit’s running backs room looks mostly the same, but improving health could leave some contributors from last year as the odd man (or men) out. 

There’s obviously no question atop the Lions’ depth chart at running back. Despite his lack of starts last season, D’Andre Swift dominated the position’s snap count totals. He was nearly matched in rushing statistics by the team’s No. 2 back, but Swift played a much more impactful role in the passing game, catching 62 passes for 452 yards and two touchdowns. That No. 2 back was Jamaal Williams, picking up a role he held for four years across the division in Green Bay. Williams rushed for 601 yards, to Swift’s 617, on 153 carries, an amount almost identical to Swift’s 151. While not quite as impactful, Williams was still effective receiving out of the backfield, adding 26 catches for 157 yards.

Swift and Williams are set to return to their roles at the top of the depth chart and, perhaps, improve on them. Swift’s health is paramount to his potential impact. If he can stay on the field, many in Detroit’s camp believe he could be a Pro Bowler after his third year in the league. He’s spent a lot of time with running backs coach Duce Staley analyzing where he can improve, and his first two seasons have proven he is a much more dangerous weapon receiving the ball than anyone saw during his college years. Williams is a great complement to Swift. He’s a tough back with experience to help lead the youthful position group.

Now behind those two, four running backs are left to compete for one or two roster spots. Godwin Igwebuike may have the clearest line to a roster spot. Despite entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent four seasons ago, Igwebuike made his first rush attempt last season. He ended the year with only 18 total carries (though one of those carries was a 42-yard touchdown), but he really made his impact as the Lions’ primary kick returner. His special teams experience gives Igwebuike a bit of an edge over the other three fighting to make the 53-man roster.

Even if Igwebuike’s role as a return man solidifies his job, the Lions entered the 2021 season with four running backs on the roster. If they were to do the same in 2022, Craig Reynolds, Jermar Jefferson, and undrafted rookie Greg Bell would be the ones competing this summer for that final spot.

Reynolds appeared in games with Washington and Jacksonville after going undrafted in 2019, but finally got a chance to show his stuff last season in Detroit. When Swift and Williams were both ruled out for the team’s Week 14 matchup against the Broncos, Reynolds was elevated from the practice squad. After amassing 83 yards on 11 carries, Reynolds was given the opportunity to start the following week versus the Cardinals. Reynolds answered the call with a 112-yard game on 26 carries, helping the Lions beat Arizona as massive underdogs. Reynolds’ role was relegated a bit after the return of Williams, but Detroit still seems to like what he can offer as they gave Reynolds some run with the first-team offense in OTAs this spring.

Despite the opportunities provided by the injuries to Swift and Williams, Jefferson failed to find his way to the field much as a rookie last season. As a freshman in college, Jefferson excelled with 1,380 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Injuries and COVID-19 limited his production over the next two years, but he still found himself on the Lions’ draft board on May 1st of last year. In order to secure a roster spot, Jefferson is going to have to find a way to contribute as a pass catcher or a pass blocker, roles he didn’t perform much in college. Otherwise, Jefferson may find himself on the outside looking in come September.

Bell took advantage of the extra year of eligibility afforded to college players due to COVID-19 last year and earned himself an opportunity as an undrafted free agent in Detroit. In his final college season, Bell rushed for 1,091 yards and 9 touchdowns on 245 carries. He was virtually non-existent in the passing game for San Diego State, though. He has some impressive rushing tools that force the Lions to keep him in the conversation, but he has a lot of work to do to ensure a spot on the final 53-man roster.

Swift and Williams are cemented in their roles. Igwebuike and Reynolds have shown how they can contribute. Jefferson and Bell are young, promising backs that will attempt to wreak a little havoc in the personnel decisions that face Detroit. They’ll all have lots to prove this summer leading into the regular season.

RFA/ERFA Tender Signings: 4/19/22

Here’s a look at the latest tender signings from around the NFL:

RFAs

Signed:

ERFAs

Signed:

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/9/22

The deadline for teams to extend tender offers to their restricted free agents and exclusive rights free agents looms next week. We’ll keep tabs on the latest here:

RFAs

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/15/21

Here are the latest reserve/futures contracts given out:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

  • QB Kyle Sloter

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFL Workout Updates: 11/26/19

Got a whole lot of workout updates to pass along:

Carolina Panthers

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jets Reach 53-Man Max

The Jets did more than just cut a 2019 third-round pick on Saturday, making nearly 40 moves to reach the Week 1 roster limit. Here’s the complete rundown of cut players:

Another spot was freed up when the Jets placed corner Austin Bless on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/4/19

Here are Sunday’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles