Ikenna Enechukwu

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/4/23

Here are today’s minor moves as we head into the weekend:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Removed from commissioner’s exempt list: OL Josh Sills

San Francisco 49ers

Sills was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list back in February when a grand jury indicted him on counts of rape and kidnapping. The charges stem from an event that allegedly took place back in December 2019. Today it was announced that Sills was acquitted of both charges, according to sources at The Athletic. The Eagles released a statement that, with his adjudication, he will return to the team’s active roster.

The 49ers announced that Johnson has been placed on season-ending injured reserve. They didn’t disclose the injury that will sideline the young edge they signed two months ago.

The Vikings are adding the XFL’s 2023 leading rusher in Smith. Smith had 791 rushing yards in 10 games last year.

Falcons Waive Feleipe Franks; TE Facing Extended Absence

Feleipe Franks has encountered an injury which will interrupt his Falcons tenure. Atlanta announced on Thursday that they have waived the hybrid quarterback/tight end with an injury designation. Jordan Schultz of the Score reports Franks suffered a torn tendon in his foot, which should sideline him for roughly three months (Twitter link).

The former UDFA entered the league as a signal-caller, but the team began transitioning to tight end last summer. Franks has yet to see much usage on offense in either capacity, logging only 68 offensive snaps to date. He has been a contributor on special teams, though, and an increased pass-catching role could have been in the cards for a team lacking in proven weapons in that regard.

Franks, 25, will revert to IR after clearing waivers. During his missed time, the Falcons will still have a tight end tandem facing considerable expectations. Kyle Pitts will look to return to full health and reach his potential as a former top-five pick, while trade acquisition Jonnu Smith and recent signing MyCole Pruitt should provide capable run blocking in head coach Arthur Smith‘s ground-based scheme.

On a busy day in Atlanta, the team also waived/injured wideout Chris Blair and defensive lineman Ikenna Enechukwu. Offensive lineman Ethan Greenidge has been placed on IR, meaning he will not be eligible to play during the 2023 season. Absences from each of those three players will not have the same effect as that of Franks, who should at least be able to retain his third phase duties upon return.

With the roster spots opened by the above moves, the Falcons have added Michal MenetMatthew Gotel, Caeveon Patton and Mathew Sexton (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of KPRC2). No member of that quartet has regular season NFL experience, so they could face an uphill climb to secure a 53-man roster spot during cutdowns. While they vie for an NFL opportunity, Franks will focus on rehab and minimizing the time he misses in his third year in Atlanta.

Falcons Sign Six UDFAs

The Falcons kept their UDFA class small this year. Here are the six players Atlanta brought in as post-draft priority signings:

Only one of these prospects comes from a Power 5 program. The Falcons reached to the mid-major level in Division I-FBS (Enechukwu, Marshall), Division I-FCS (Washington) and Division II (Harris, Malone) for their UDFAs this year.

The Commanders also pursued Harris, per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson, who notes the NFC East team offered the small-school wideout an $80K guarantee (Twitter link). It is unclear what the Falcons are guaranteeing Harris, but it is likely in that ballpark. Harris posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Oklahoma Baptist; he caught 16 touchdown passes in 2021 and combined for 172 catches in that span. He also excelled as the Bison’s kick returner.

Atlanta lost Olamide Zaccheaus and Damiere Byrd in free agency and did not draft a wide receiver, opening a door for this UDFA class. The team did add Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller to its equation. Malone joined Harris as a Division II All-American last season. The former JUCO transfer caught 67 passes for 1,382 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2022. The Falcons certainly placed a premium on production with this receiver duo, which both produced out of the Great American Conference. That said, Harris and Malone will obviously be set for quite the competition level jump this offseason.