J.J. Worton

NFL Suspends Cameron Clear, J.J. Worton

The NFL has suspended a pair of free agents, tight end Cameron Clear and wide receiver J.J. Worton, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) and Tom Pelissero of USA Today. The league banned Clear for 10 games and Worton for six.

Cameron Clear (vertical)

The reason for Clear’s suspension is unknown, but it’s not the first time the league has issued him a ban. Previously, it hit Clear with a four-game suspension in June. Clear went undrafted out of Texas A&M last year and then signed with the Steelers, who waived him early in the season as a result of injury issues. The 6-foot-5, 273-pounder didn’t hook on elsewhere until February, when Indianapolis signed him to a futures contract. The Colts ended up waiving Clear in May, and he hasn’t had a reported workout with any team since.

Worton, then with the Patriots, was arrested in January and charged with two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person aged 14 and over and one count of assault and battery. The Patriots eventually cut Worton, who was found guilty on the three charges in April and is now on probation through next March. Worton signed with the Rams in May, but they cut him a month later.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/24/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Browns announced that they have signed outside linebacker Joe Schobert, a fourth-round draft pick. As shown on our running list, third-round defensive end Carl Nassib stands as Cleveland’s only unsigned draft choice from this year’s class of 14 picks. According to Over the Cap, Schobert, a Wisconsin product, is in line for a four-year deal worth roughly $2.974MM, including a signing bonus of about $634K.
  • The Rams have waived wide receiver J.J. Worton, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Tribune (Twitter link). Worton was an undrafted free agent out of UCF, and signed with Los Angeles at the beginning of May. The club has also waived linebacker Matthew Wells, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Wells originally inked a futures deal back in January.

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.

Extra Points: Alonso, LA, Draft Prospects, Pats

Linebacker Kiko Alonso is coming off his first season with the Eagles, one in which the 2013 PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year was a non-factor. Alonso expects better things in 2016 with recently hired defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz at the helm, writes Paul Domowitch of Philly.com.

Alonso’s agent, Steve Karic, says the 25-year-old is “very excited” to play for Schwartz, who coordinated Buffalo’s defense to a fourth-place ranking in 2014. Alonso was also a Bill then, but he missed the season because of a torn ACL and didn’t play a down under Schwartz. Still, he’s familiar with Schwartz’s defense.

“He spent the offseason in Buffalo that year playing in this defense. He went through OTAs and minicamp in this defense. He was in the meeting rooms all season long,” Karic stated.

Karic then added that Alonso “definitely can play” the Mike (middle) or Will (weakside) LB role in Schwartz’s scheme. Prior to Alonso’s injury in 2014, Schwartz planned to use him as a Will ‘backer in Buffalo. Alonso played on the inside under former Eagles D-coordinator Billy Davis in 2015-16 and totaled just 43 tackles in 11 games, rating an ugly 92nd of 97 qualifying LBs by Pro Football Focus’ standards (subscription required).

Elsewhere around the NFL. . .

  • Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News believes the Chargers will end up in LA next season (Twitter link). He also shot down the notion (via Twitter) that talks between the Chargers and Rams have stalled. This comes on the heels of a Monday night report from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora that the two sides are “making progress.”
  • North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz – who’s gaining steam as a possible first-round pick in the 2016 draft – has already met with nearly half of the league’s 32 teams at the Senior Bowl, tweets Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. Two of those clubs are the Dolphins and Texans, Wentz told Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, respectively (Twitter links: 1, 2). With Ryan Tannehill in the fold, Beasley doesn’t expect the Dolphins to use the eighth overall pick on Wentz. However, if available, he could be a fit for QB-needy Houston at No. 22.
  • Alabama MLB Reggie Ragland, one of Wentz’s fellow Senior Bowl participants, has spoken to the Ravens, Chiefs and Raiders so far, and he’ll also meet with the Packers (Twitter links via Wilson and Chase Goodbread of NFL.com). The probable first-rounder will play some OLB this week as a way to show off his versatility to prospective employers, reports Wilson (on Twitter).
  • Foxborough, Mass., police arrested Patriots practice squad receiver J.J. Worton on Saturday and charged him with two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person aged 14 and over and one count of assault and battery, per ESPN.com. The Patriots didn’t comment on Worton’s arrest, tweets the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, who adds that the 24-year-old is unlikely to remain with the team. Worton, who signed with the Pats earlier this month, has an expiring contract.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/12/16

Today’s minor signings, cuts, and other moves:

  • The Jets signed wide receiver Chandler Worthy to a reserve/future deal, as Mark Berman of FOX 26 tweets. Worthy was previously on Houston’s taxi squad.
  • The Packers worked out former Nebraska linebacker Jason Ankrah on Tuesday, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Chargers have signed former CFL inside linebacker Dexter McCoil to a futures deal, Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun tweets.
  • The Broncos have signed tight end Manasseh Garner, punter Will Johnson, and tackle Darrion Weems to futures deals, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets.
  • Washington signed defensive linemen Corey Crawford and Kamal Johnson and linebacker Derrick Mathews to reserve/future contracts, as Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post writes.
  • The Panthers have signed guard David Yankey to a futures contract, as Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press tweets.
  • The Cardinals signed Quayshawn Nealy to the practice squad, Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun tweets.
  • The Patriots signed safety Cedric Thompson and wide receiver J.J. Worton to the practice squad and cut wide receiver DeAndre Carter, Wilson tweets.

AFC East Notes: Schwartz, Workouts, Dolphins

While Rex Ryan has a reputation as a defensive-minded coach, the Bills have slipped to 26th in the NFL this year in defensive DVOA, during Ryan’s first year with the team. The disappointing performance from Buffalo’s defense reflects well on Jim Schwartz, who was the unit’s coordinator in 2014, when the Bills ranked second in the league in defensive DVOA, behind only Seattle. Schwartz decided to take a year off after he was replaced in Buffalo last winter, but veteran Rams coach Jeff Fisher thinks the former Lions coach deserves another shot at a head coaching job.

“Jim is deserving of another opportunity, you really just have to wait and see what happens,” Fisher said, per Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. “That year in Buffalo with that defense, that was a pretty impressive job that he did and so I’ve stayed in touch with Jim, we’re good friends. … I can speak from experience as far as how important it is after coaching so long that if you get an opportunity to take a year off, take it. He’s done that, recharged and is ready to go. We’ll just wait and see what happens.”

As we wait to see whether the ex-Bills DC returns to the NFL’s coaching ranks in 2016, let’s round up a few notes out of the AFC East….

  • Former UCF wide receiver J.J. Worton is getting plenty of looks from NFL teams now that he has fully recovered from the ACL injury that ended his college career. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets that the Patriots are the latest team to work out Worton, who also auditioned for the Packers and Bears.
  • Wilson also passes along word of another free agent meeting, tweeting that former North Carolina Central guard Jovan Olafioye visited the Dolphins. Olafioye has played for the CFL’s B.C. Lions for the last several years, earning All-Star game nods in each of the last five seasons.
  • Despite the fact that he signed a record-setting contract with the team as a free agent last offseason, Ndamukong Suh hasn’t become a “defining player” for the Dolphins, writes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Salguero argues that the defensive tackle has been solid during his first season in Miami, but he hasn’t been the difference-making player the team expected. With Suh’s cap number set to jump to $28.6MM, the club will be banking on him making more of an impact going forward.
  • It’s critical that the Dolphins get their next head coaching hire right, as Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel explains.

Workout Notes: 12/8/15

There were a plethora of workouts around the NFL today. Here they are:

North Notes: Packers, Ball, Bears, Lions

After having rounded up some Friday items out of the NFL’s West divisions earlier today, let’s turn our attention to the North divisions….

  • After not getting much production from their three running backs last night, the Packers had former Bronco Montee Ball in for a workout today, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Eddie Lacy has been disappointing this year, and James Starks only had 15 yards on nine carries on Thursday night, with the team giving rookie John Crockett – promoted earlier in the day from the practice squad – five carries as well. While there’s no deal at this time with Ball, Green Bay’s backfield situation could be worth keeping an eye on.
  • The Packers also tried out a wide receiver today, bringing in J.J. Worton for an audition, tweets Wilson. The former UCF wideout is about a year removed from a torn ACL. Quarterback Zac Dysert auditioned for Green Bay as well, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • After publishing the first part of his conversation with George McCaskey earlier this week, Dan Pompei has part two available today, in which he talks to the Bears chairman about increasing the regular season to 18 games (McCaskey’s not in favor) and asks whether the team would be willing to give up a home game to play an international contest (McCaskey’s really not in favor).
  • In addition to working out a handful of kickers this week, in case Matt Prater was unable to play on Thursday night, the Lions also took a look at wide receiver Greg Salas, tweets Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. A fourth-round pick in 2011, Salas has spent time with several teams, recording a total of 43 regular-season receptions for the Rams and Jets.
  • The Browns worked out former Southern Utah punter Brock Miller, according to Wilson (Twitter link).