Isaiah Buggs

Chiefs DT Isaiah Buggs Facing Animal Cruelty Charges

Chiefs defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs turned himself in to Tuscaloosa (Al.) police on Thursday after two arrest warrants for misdemeanor animal cruelty were issued for him, as detailed by Ryan Phillips of Patch.com. A subsequent ESPN report noted that Buggs was released on $600 bond and will be required to appear in court on June 13.

Court documents allege that two dogs, a pitbull and Rottweiler mix, were found by animal control at a home rented by Buggs. The animals were described as “malnourished, emaciated and neglected” and were allegedly left on a screened-in back porch surrounded by feces and without access to food or water. The pitbull was ultimately euthanized at a local animal shelter after becoming increasingly aggressive and failing heartworm treatment, and the Rottweiler mix — which tested positive for Parvo and weighed a dangerously-low 52 pounds when it arrived at the shelter — is still in the shelter’s care pending a court determination as to whether Buggs should be allowed to own it or any other animals.

According to witnesses, Buggs had recently vacated the residence where the animals were found, and Phillips writes that the player’s lease was subsequently terminated due to his rent arrearage. Phillips adds that Buggs faces other charges stemming from his allegedly pushing a police officer during an April arrest and allegedly pointing a gun at a woman outside of his business.

That business — Buggs owns the nearby Kings Hookah Lounge — is at the root of Buggs’ legal issues, according to his agent, Trey Robinson. In the wake of the animal cruelty warrants, Robinson argued that local police are engaged in a “subversive campaign” to force Buggs to close the hookah lounge, and that authorities offered to drop the earlier charges — which were not initially made public — in exchange for the voluntary surrender of Buggs’ business license (the full statement can be found here, courtesy of NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero).

Phillips, meanwhile, reports that Buggs does not have a business license at all, and that the lounge has been cited for operating without a license, overcrowding, and failure to pay city taxes. With respect to the dogs, Robinson said, “under no circumstance does Mr. Buggs condone the mistreatment of any animal. The dogs at issue did not belong to him, and he was unaware they remained at the property in question.”

Buggs, 27, was selected by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 2019 draft and landed a one-year deal with the Lions prior to the 2022 season. He wound up appearing in all 17 of Detroit’s games that year, including a career-high 13 starts. While his efforts earned him a two-year contract worth up to $6MM last March, he did not make it through the first year of that pact. He was waived in January and subsequently caught on with the Chiefs’ taxi squad in advance of KC’s playoff run. He did not see any postseason work, though the Chiefs retained him via a reserve/futures deal in February.

Buggs declined to speak to a reporter after leaving the Tuscaloosa County Jail on Thursday, and a Chiefs spokesperson said the club was aware of the situation but also declined comment.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 2/13/24

Today’s reserve/futures deals:

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

San Francisco 49ers

Oruwariye spent much of the 2023 season on the Jaguars practice squad, with the defensive back getting into just one game. The former fifth-round pick has more experience than your standard reserve/futures contract, as Oruwariye started 29 games for the Lions between 2020 and 2021. That latter season was one of his strongest, as he finished with 57 tackles, 11 passes defended, and six interceptions.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 1/4/24

Today’s practice squad transactions:

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Giants

Isaiah Buggs will provide the Chiefs with some defensive line depth as they head into the playoffs. After playing a part-time role with the Steelers to begin his career, Buggs joined the Lions in 2022 and proceeded to have a career season, finishing with 46 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble in 17 games (13 starts).

That performance earned him a two-year, $6MM extension this past offseason. However, his playing time dropped in 2023, and he collected 12 tackles and one sack in 10 games (three starts) before getting released earlier this week.

Lions Waive DL Isaiah Buggs

Alim McNeill is eligible to come off injured reserve this week, and Dan Campbell said the ascending interior defensive lineman has a chance to do so. While McNeill has not been designated for return yet, the Lions made another move that points to that happening soon.

Detroit is waiving veteran D-tackle Isaiah Buggs, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets. Thanking the city of Detroit, Buggs said this departure is best for him. This could point to Buggs having asked to be cut. It is rather interesting the Lions will cut a player who has been a regular with McNeill out, but Buggs had been a healthy scratch during points prior to McNeill’s injury.

The Lions gave Buggs two one-year contracts over the past two offseasons, adding him initially in July 2022 and circling back in March 2023. This cut is also interesting given Buggs’ two-year deal. The Lions had him signed through 2024 on a two-year, $4.5MM pact. That deal came with $2.1MM fully guaranteed, but no guaranteed money remains on the contract beyond this season. If no team claims the fifth-year veteran by Wednesday, the Lions would owe Buggs only one more game check on this accord. For waiver purposes, the Alabama alum is due a $2.1MM base salary next season.

Buggs, 27, has been active for 10 games this season. In those contests, he has played 40% of Detroit’s defensive snaps, working ahead of third-round rookie Brodric Martin, who has seen action in just three games. Pro Football Focus views this season as Buggs’ most productive work. The advanced metrics site slots the former Steeler as a mid-pack interior D-lineman (60th overall) this season. Buggs made 13 starts last year, racking up a career-high 46 tackles and 10 QB hits. This season, those numbers are way down (12, 1).

McNeill suffered a knee sprain in early December, but the emerging third-year talent had been viewed as likely to come back this season. Without McNeill, the Lions have used John Cominsky, Benito Jones, Levi Onwuzurike as D-line regulars this season. Buggs represents a decent depth piece, but the NFC North champions will move forward without him.

The Buggs move is now official, while the Lions also announced they re-signed fullback Jason Cabinda to their practice squad. Despite using an IR activation on Cabinda last week, the Lions waived him. Clearing waivers will keep Cabinda in Detroit. The Lions are soon set to use two more of their remaining IR activations on McNeill and C.J. Gardner-Johnson, with the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers noting the team has an open roster spot thanks to the Buggs cut. Detroit has four IR-return moves remaining.

NFC North Notes: Packers, Lions, Hockenson

Rashan Gary is all set to debut in Week 1, completing his recovery from the ACL tear that ended his 2022 season in November. But the Packers will begin their top pass rusher on a pitch count to start the season, Matt LaFleur confirmed (via Packers Wire’s Zach Kruse). This could open the door for early-season Lukas Van Ness development. The Packers still roster Preston Smith, who is going into his fifth season with the team, and Van Ness contributed as an inside and outside rusher at Iowa. The team has versatile linebacker Justin Hollins and 2022 fifth-rounder Kingsley Enagbare, who became a primary starter after Gary went down last season, as options while Gary ramps up to a full workload.

Additionally on the Green Bay injury front, David Bakhtiari, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are viewed as game-time decisions for Sunday’s opener against the Bears. Bakhtiari, who has seen knee trouble sidetrack his career to a degree over the past two-plus years, is listed on the injury report with more knee trouble. He expects to play, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tweets. Both starting receivers are battling hamstring maladies and have not practiced this week. Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • As for tonight’s game, the Lions ruled out cornerback Emmanuel Moseley. Although Detroit activated Moseley off its active/PUP list before roster-cutdown day, the free agency addition underwent a second knee procedure this summer and was viewed as a long shot to start the year on time. Moseley is finishing up a recovery from an October 2022 ACL tear.
  • Isaiah Buggs started 13 games at nose tackle for last season’s Lions edition, but the veteran was informed in advance he would be a healthy scratch tonight, the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers notes. The Lions gave Buggs a two-year, $4.5MM deal in March but gave more snaps to rookie Brodric Martin and Benito Jones during camp. Buggs believes his lack of offseason attendance affected the team’s decision, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The former Steelers contributor said his wife giving birth led to him staying away during OTAs. Jones and Alim McNeill are expected to start in Kansas City, Birkett adds.
  • Going into free agency, the Bears did extensive work on Dre’Mont Jones, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes. Although the Bears carried plenty of cap space into free agency, they chose to stand down on Jones and spend for the likes of Tremaine Edmunds, Nate Davis, T.J. Edwards and DeMarcus Walker. The team later addressed its D-tackle needs in the draft, choosing three — Zacch Pickens (Round 2), Gervon Dexter (Round 3) and Travis Bell (Round 7) — on Day 2. This duo should be expected to play bigger roles down the line, but in Week 1, Justin Jones and Andrew Billings are slated to start. A four-year Broncos regular, Jones ended up with the Seahawks on a three-year, $51MM deal.
  • T.J. Hockenson‘s four-year, $66MM Vikings extension comes with $29.29MM fully guaranteed, according to OverTheCap. That number checks in fourth among tight ends — behind Kyle Pitts‘ rookie deal and the extensions for Mark Andrews and George Kittle. Hockenson’s 2024 base salary is fully guaranteed. His $10.9MM 2025 base salary is guaranteed for injury at signing, per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who notes that number shifts to a full guarantee a year early (March 2024). The Vikings did not use the year-out guarantee structure for Hockenson’s 2026 setup, giving them more flexibility. Hockenson has $2.3MM of his 2026 base ($15.4MM) guaranteed for injury; it does not shift to a full guarantee until March 2026, giving the Vikings additional flexibility. Hockenson’s cap number will climb from $5MM this year to $14.1MM in 2024, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets.

Lions Re-Sign DL Isaiah Buggs

Last summer, the Lions added Isaiah Buggs as defensive line depth; his play this year has earned him an extended stay in the Motor City. Detroit is re-signing Buggs on a two-year deal worth up to $6MM, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). The team has since confirmed the move. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets that the pact includes $4.5MM in base salary, with $1.5MM in incentives. $2.1MM in compensation is guaranteed at signing.

A former Steelers third-rounder, Buggs operated in a rotational capacity over the course of three seasons in Pittsburgh. His snap share rose every year, reaching 34% in 2021, though he never managed to make as much of an impact on the statsheet as the team would have wished. He was waived last January, and remained on the open market for several months after a brief stint with the Raiders as playoff insurance.

Following workouts with the Vikings and Falcons, Buggs signed in Detroit in an attempt to carve out a more notable role. That was certainly this case this season, as he started 13 of 17 contests and played considerably more snaps (755) than he did across three campaigns with the Steelers. He comfortably set new career highs in several categories, including tackles (46) and QB pressures (11).

That production has led to this new deal, one which will essentially double his career earnings if he is able to maximize its value. Buggs will continue as a key member of the Lions’ defensive line rotation, one which could see the departures of pending free agents John Cominsky and Austin Bryant. Detroit will be seeking significant upgrades on defense this offseason, but by retaining Buggs, they will have a degree of continuity up front in the coming years.

Lions To Release DT Michael Brockers

Veteran defensive tackle Michael Brockers emerged as a cut candidate during the 2022 season. In advance of the upcoming new league year, his time with the Lions has come to an expected end.

Detroit is mutually parting ways with Brockers, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The move comes with one year remaining on the 32-year-old’s contract, where he had a scheduled cap hit of nearly $14MM. This release will give the Lions $10MM in cap savings, and allow Brockers to move on to a new NFL home.

The former first-rounder had an interesting offseason in 2020, reaching agreement with the Ravens on a free agent deal before ultimately staying with the Rams. One year later, he was dealt to the Lions for a seventh-round pick, a small price to pay for Detroit to add a d-lineman of his caliber. That was immediately followed by a three-year, $24MM deal being agreed upon.

Brockers was a full-time starter in 2021. He registered 52 tackles and one sack that year, marking a disappointing return on investment from the team’s perspective. That was followed by a restructure during the subsequent offseason, but a steep decline in playing time. The LSU product played in only six games in 2022, finding himself as a healthy scratch for much of the year.

That represented one of several notable moves made in the middle of the season as the Lions looked to turn around a struggling defense, one which saw a number of veterans underperform. Brockers was certainly among that group, as he logged a snap share of only 29% and registered just two pressures. Given his reputation as a disruptive player in the passing game, that figure pointed to the sides going their separate ways this offseason.

Brockers, who was Detroit’s oldest player in 2022, said during the season that he was not considering retirement. He will now get a head start on free agency and look to find a rotational role which will allow him to regain regular playing time and rebuild his value. The Lions, meanwhile, will add to their cap space and thus give themselves more opportunity to continue their youth movement along their defensive front.

That will likely include Isaiah Buggs and John Cominsky, who are both pending free agents. They took on a larger role amidst Brockers’ absence, and Birkett notes that the Lions intend to re-sign both of them. Savings from the latter’s release will help make that more plausible, as the team looks to take a significant step forward defensively this offseason.

Lions To Sign DL Isaiah Buggs

The Lions have made a depth addition to their defensive line. Isaiah Buggs is signing in Detroit, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link).

The 25-year-old began his career with the Steelers in 2019. Over his three seasons in Pittsburgh, he grew into a larger role with each passing campaign, playing just over one-third of the team’s defensive snaps in 2021. Overall, his career in the Steel City comprised 29 games played (including seven starts), 31 tackles and one pass breakup.

The former sixth-rounder joined the Raiders in January as insurance for the playoffs, but has been on the lookout for a new home throughout the offseason. In May, he participated in the Vikings’ minicamp as a tryout, but that didn’t turn into a deal. One month later, he was among several players worked out by the Falcons.

In Detroit, Buggs will join a d-line with the likes of Michael Brockers, Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill at the top of the depth chart. The six-foot-three, 295-pounder, will look to carve out a rotational role similar to the one he had last season in Pittsburgh, as the Lions transition to a 4-3 scheme. While his level of play (and PFF evaluations) to date indicates that could be his ceiling, his age and career arc could point to untapped potential for the Lions to benefit from as they look to take a step forward in 2022.

Falcons Worked Out C Jonotthan Harrison

The Falcons are eyeing an experienced lineman. The team worked out center Jonotthan Harrison yesterday, according to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).

Harrison went undrafted out of Florida in 2014, but he immediately found himself in the Colts lineup. He started 10 of his 15 appearances as a rookie, and he ultimately saw time in 44 games (23 starts) across three seasons with the organization. He got into 40 games (19 starts) with the Jets between the 2017 and 2019 seasons.

The 30-year-old hasn’t made an NFL appearance since that 2019 campaign. He was released by the Jets prior to the 2020 season, and he spent the majority of that year on the Bills practice squad. He spent the beginning of the 2021 campaign on the Giants practice squad before an Achilles injury landed him on IR.

Another notable player who worked out for Atlanta was defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs. The 2019 sixth-round pick spent the first three seasons of his career with the Steelers, seeing time in 29 games. 2021 was his most productive season as a professional, as he started six of his 10 appearances while collecting 17 tackles.

Harrison and Buggs joined a list of tryout players that also included linebacker Dakota Allen, offensive lineman Adam Coon, defensive lineman Jalen Dalton, and wideout Emeka Emezie.

NFL Workouts: Callaway, Falcons, Buggs

Here’s a look at some of the league’s recent tryout invitations:

  • The Colts will host former Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway at minicamp for a tryout, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The fourth-round pick for Cleveland in 2018 made an impact during his rookie season before running into issues with the league’s substance abuse policies and Cleveland’s team rules. The Browns waived Callaway during his sophomore season. He signed with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL, but was placed on injured reserve before ever appearing in a game. He’s had short stints since then with the Dolphins and Chiefs and now has an opportunity to stick in Indianapolis.
  • Michael Rothstein of ESPN reported that the Falcons will host a trio of players for tryouts this weekend: former Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison, quarterback Anthony Gordon, and center Evan Boehm. Allison spent the first four years of his career in Green Bay, never surpassing 303 receiving yards or two touchdowns in a season. He appeared in three games last year for the Lions. Gordon has spent time rostered in Seattle, Denver, and Kansas City after going undrafted in 2020. After getting drafted in the fourth round of 2016, Boehm has bounced around to eight different NFL squads, appearing in 55 games, starting 21.
  • Former Steelers nose tackle Isaiah Buggs will attend the Vikings minicamp for a tryout, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The sixth-round pick from 2019 spent three seasons in Pittsburgh earning six starts last season before getting waived at the turn of the year. Buggs briefly signed to the Raiders practice squad and will now look for a new home in Minnesota.