Jacob Phillips

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/26/22

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Browns LB Jacob Phillips Expected To Miss Rest Of Season; TE David Njoku To Miss Time

Weeks after seeing Anthony Walker go down with a season-ending injury, the Browns believe one of their other linebackers will not return this year. Kevin Stefanski said Jacob Phillips is unlikely to come back in 2022 due to a pectoral injury, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes.

The Browns had turned to Phillips, a third-round pick in 2020, as a full-time player in the wake of Walker’s injury. Phillips played every Browns defensive snap from Weeks 4-6, but this marks another major injury for the former LSU Tiger. He missed much of last season because of a biceps tear.

Cleveland will turn to another LSU alum now. The team’s recent trade for Deion Jones was designed at giving the former Falcon a key role once he sufficiently acclimated himself in Joe Woods‘ defense. After spending the first six weeks of the season on IR and playing 52% of Cleveland’s defensive snaps in Week 7, Jones will be needed as a full-timer alongside Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Jones, 28 next week, fell out of favor in Atlanta but has 83 career starts on his resume. The Browns’ Monday-night game against the Bengals will likely be No. 84.

Phillips, 23, who debuted at LSU in 2017, did not overlap at the SEC school with Jones — a 2016 second-round pick. Phillips started Sunday’s game in Baltimore and made seven solo tackles, giving him 46 for the season. He added two sacks — against the Steelers and Chargers — during his run replacing Walker as well. Phillips’ rookie contract runs through 2023.

Additionally, the Browns are set to be without David Njoku for a stretch. The sixth-year tight end sustained a high ankle sprain, Cabot adds. The recently extended pass catcher is set for a two- to five-week recovery timetable. Njoku, 26, left M&T Bank Stadium on crutches Sunday. This will interrupt the former first-rounder’s career-best pace. Njoku, who caught seven passes for 71 yards against the Ravens, had totaled 418 yards this season. His career-high (639) came back in 2018.

The Browns extended Njoku on a five-year, $54.75MM deal weeks after franchise-tagging him. While the 2017 draftee had not offered much consistency in Cleveland, the team is banking on him making a mid-career leap during Deshaun Watson‘s run at quarterback. Njoku was rewarding the team’s faith thus far; his 34 receptions tie Amari Cooper for most on the team. By the time Njoku returns, Watson may be at the helm.

Browns LB Anthony Walker Out For Season

5:45pm: The Browns made the roster move official this afternoon, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, placing Walker on injured reserve, where he is expected to remain for the rest of the season.

11:52am: Anthony Walker left Thursday night’s game early, and the Browns linebacker will not return this season. An MRI revealed the sixth-year defender suffered a quadriceps tendon tear, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

After initially signing Walker in 2021, the Browns gave him a one-year, $4.25MM deal to come back as a starter. But the team will need to make a long-term adjustment after Friday’s news. This is a tough blow for Walker, who required cart transportation last night and will be set to go through a five- to seven-month rehab timetable.

A 2017 Colts fifth-round pick, Walker has been a starter for the past five seasons. The Colts let him walk in 2021 and doled out record-setting off-ball linebacker money to Shaquille Leonard months later. But Walker made an impact in Cleveland last season. Pro Football Focus rated him as a top-20 off-ball linebacker alongside promising youngster Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Walker, 27, made 113 tackles and notched a sack last season.

This will obviously hurt Walker’s chances of scoring a better free agency deal in 2023. The Browns also saw Owusu-Koramoah leave Thursday’s game; a groin injury sidelined the second-year defender. Jacob Phillips, a 2020 third-round pick, is set to both replace Walker and wear the green dot signifying a communication role, Kevin Stefanski said.

While Phillips has only started four games in his Browns career, he played well against the Steelers. The LSU product registered seven tackles and came through with a third-down sack and a third-down pass breakup during Cleveland’s Week 3 win. This figures to turn into an audition season for Phillips, who played just 123 defensive snaps last year.

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/22/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list today. In some instances (including Christian McCaffrey and Travis Etienne), players activated from the list remain on IR:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Placed on list: T Le’Raven Clark

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Browns Place RB Kareem Hunt, Seven Others On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Browns have placed more players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including running back Kareem Hunt. The team announced that the following players have landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

In his third season with the Browns, Hunt has totalled 386 rushing yards and five touchdowns, along with an additional 174 yards on 22 catches in eight games. The 26-year-old has been a key member of the Browns’ backfield alongside Nick Chubb, helping the team average 143.5 rushing yards per game, ranking fourth in the NFL.

The team also announced that offensive assistant coach T.C. McCartney has tested positive for COVID-19. We learned earlier today that the NFL was pushing Saturday’s game between the Browns and Raiders to Monday.

Meanwhile, Cleveland activated linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. from the reserve/COVID-19 list, and they’ve signed quarterback Kyle Lauletta to the active roster off the Jaguars practice squad. Lauletta, 26, has appeared in just two NFL games. Both were with the Giants in 2018, where he went 0-for-five with one interception. He has since spent time on the Eagles’, Falcons’ and Browns’ practice squads, only going to Jacksonville’s after being waived at the end of August.

QB Nick Mullens Expected To Start For Browns On Saturday

7:52pm: Cornerback A.J. Green and linebacker Jacob Phillips have also tested positive for COVID-19, reports Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal (via Twitter).

4:59pm: The Browns will likely have to turn to their third-string QB for Saturday’s matchup against the Raiders. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), quarterback Case Keenum has tested positive for COVID-19. With Baker Mayfield already on the reserve/COVID-19 list, this means Nick Mullens is in line to start.

[RELATED: Browns’ Baker Mayfield Tests Positive For COVID-19]

The Browns are facing at least five more positive tests in addition to Keenum, according to CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones (on Twitter). This would bring the total to 20 players on the Browns who have tested positive for COVID-19 this week. One of those players is Grant Delpit, as Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal tweets that the safety tested positive. While the Browns are eyeing a handful of absences, coach Kevin Stefanski wouldn’t rule out any players following the NFL’s changes to COVID protocols.

“Certainly when they tell me we have run out of days in terms of negative tests and those type of things, then it will be official, but I don’t know that we’re ruling any of those guys out just yet,” Stefanski said (via Ulrich).

Either way, it’s looking like Mullens will be forced into the lineup for a crucial start. The 26-year-old has spent the majority of the 2021 campaign on Cleveland’s practice squad, although he is coming off a 2020 campaign where he started eight games for the 49ers. Mullens is 5-11 in his 16 career starts, and his 4,405 passing yards are the second most by any quarterback in their first 16 career starts in NFL history (behind Patrick Mahomes (h/t to ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter)). Mullens also has 25 career touchdowns vs. 22 interceptions.

Keenum started one game for the Browns this season, completing 21 of his 33 pass attempts in a win over the Broncos. In total, the 33-year-old has seen time in six games for Cleveland this season, tossing one touchdown vs. zero interceptions.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/11/21

Here is how teams finalized their Week 14 rosters:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions:  12/6/21

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Trent Scott

Cleveland Browns

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BengalsBrownsRavens and Steelers moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Baltimore Ravens

Signed to practice squad:

Cincinnati Bengals

Claimed:

Released:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Cleveland Browns

Signed:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Signed to practice squad:

Browns’ Jacob Phillips Done For Year?

Browns linebacker Jacob Phillips is likely done for the year with a biceps tear (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Philips will know more about his outlook following surgery to repair the tendon.

[RELATED: Browns’ Delpit Suffers Injury Setback]

Phillips, a 2020 3rd-round pick of the Browns, was expected to be a core contributor on defense. He was in the midst of a solid camp and trending in the right direction after missing a good chunk of his rookie year with a knee sprain. The Browns planned on using him as Anthony Walker‘s primary backup at middle linebacker with some possible action on the weakside.

Without Phillips, the Browns will be counting on 2021 second-rounder Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to pick things up quickly. They’ll also be keeping their fingers crossed for fellow ‘backer Sione Takitaki as he recovers from a (less severe) hamstring injury.