Jake Fisher

Cowboys Notes: Cooper, Elliott, Fisher

Michael Thomas‘ new deal with the Saints isn’t going to make negotiations between Amari Cooper and the Cowboys any easier. Thomas reportedly received an annual salary of $19.25MM from New Orleans, and that figure will almost certainly factor into discussions between Cooper and Dallas. Despite that dynamic, the Cowboys haven’t made an effort to get in front of the rest of the market in order to secure a cheaper deal for Cooper (or Dak Prescott, Byron Jones, or Ezekiel Elliott, for that matter).

“We can’t push the issue unless we want to be a market-setter,” Cowboys executive Stephen Jones said on KTCK-AM 1310 and 96.7 FM, via David Moore of Sports Day DFW. “And we’re damn sure not going to be a market-setter because of all the things that go with being a Dallas Cowboy. We want our players to feel good about their contracts. But at the same time, we don’t want to do things that are out of line because we can’t afford to be that way. When we save money, whether it’s with Dak, whether it’s with Zeke, whether it’s with Amari, it’s not saving Jerry [Jones] and I a dollar. It’s just money that’s going to another player.”

Per Moore, Jones and the Cowboys told defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence during their negotiating sessions that Lawrence implied to accept less money in order to allow Dallas to account for other star players. Lawrence reportedly told Jones that fitting the rest of the Cowboys’ stars onto the salary cap wasn’t his problem to solve, and Cooper, Prescott, et al. could potentially take the same approach.

Here’s more on the Cowboys:

  • The Ezekiel Elliott headline machine continues. Per TMZ Sports, a new lawsuit alleges the Cowboys “conspired with police to cover up info from a 2017 car crash that would have sidelined [Elliott] from a crucial NFL playoff game.” The plaintiff in the suit claims he was hit by Elliott’s car just four days before Dallas’ playoff game against Green Bay, and further alleges the Cowboys didn’t want the accident reported because Elliott would have been placed in the concussion protocol, potentially endangering his availability for their playoff game. Additionally, the plaintiff is suing the Cowboys for damages, but as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explains, it’s highly unlikely Dallas gets dragged into this suit.
  • The Cowboys worked out free agent tight end Jake Fisher, tweets Todd Archer of ESPN.com. A second-round pick of the Bengals as an offensive tackle in 2015, Fisher is now attempting to convert to a skill position. Fisher, who played tight end in high school, has been limited by injuries and ineffectiveness throughout his career, and has started just 12 games in four years. He signed with the Bills earlier this offseason but was cut after two months on Bufflo’s roster.
  • In case you missed it, the Cowboys signed running back Alfred Morris earlier this week, giving them some form of insurance against Elliott’s ongoing holdout.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/13/19

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

  • Signed: S Abraham Wallace, OL Garrett McGhin, DT Quindarius Thagard
  • Released: TE Jake Fisher, RB Keith Ford

Chicago Bears

  • Bears Signed: WR Jesper Horsted
  • Waived: G Tommy Doles

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee Titans


Bills To Sign Jake Fisher

The Bills are making another move to help their offense. Buffalo is signing Jake Fisher to a one-year deal, according to his agent (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network).

He worked out as a tight end for the Bills yesterday, and they apparently liked what they saw. Fisher had a workout with the Texans last week, but didn’t sign. Fisher spent the first four years of his career with the Bengals as an offensive tackle, and is now attempting to make the conversion to tight end.

Drafted in the second round out of Oregon back in 2015, Fisher never lived up to his draft status. He struggled in pass protection, and could never cement himself as a full-time starter. He started seven games in 2017, and just one game last year in 11 appearances.

We heard a few weeks ago that Fisher had begun running a few routes with NFL quarterbacks, and that he’d be attempting to reinvent himself as a blocking tight end. He finished last season on injured reserve with a back injury, but appears to be back to full health now.

FA Rumors: Colts, Ajayi, Giants, Lions, Chiefs

Although the Colts met with free agent running back Jay Ajayi this week, there’s no deal imminent between the two parties, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). However, Indianapolis does plan to continue talking with Ajayi, which suggests it could look to sign the ex-Eagle down the line. Ajayi, 25, is arguably the best back still available on the open market after Le’Veon Bell, Tevin Coleman, and Mark Ingram came off the board during the first week of free agency. The Colts don’t necessarily need another running back given their depth chart already includes Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins, and Nyheim Hines, but Ajayi could give the club another dimension in the backfield.

Here’s more from the free agent rumor mill:

  • The Giants had interest in defensive end Vinny Curry before he signed with the division-rival Eagles, and in fact offered Curry more money than Philadelphia, reports Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Aside from last season, Curry had spent his entire career with the Eagles, and it sounds like he simply preferred to return to Philadelphia rather than consider other destinations. Indeed, Curry only landed a one-year deal with a base value of $2.25MM from the Eagles, although the pact does contain $1.25MM in incentives. Before landing with the Eagles, Curry also took a visit with the Bengals.
  • Free agent Jake Fisher will work out as a tight end for the Bills on Thursday, tweets John Keim of ESPN.com. A second-round pick of the Bengals as an offensive tackle in 2015, Fisher is now attempting to convert to a skill position, and is reportedly down to 285 pounds. Fisher, who played tight end in high school, has been limited by injuries and ineffectiveness throughout his career, and has started just 12 games in four years. He’s also auditioned for the Texans and Redskins.
  • The Lions hosted defensive tackle Al Woods on Wednesday, according to NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Woods is now entering his age-32 season and didn’t perform well in 2018 (bottom-20 DT among 112 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus), so he likely won’t command much guaranteed money. Detroit is already well-stocked in the middle of its defensive line with Damon Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, and Da’Shawn Hand in tow.
  • Although he recently announced his retirement and took a collegiate coaching position, former Buccaneers tight end/fullback Alan Cross took a visit with the Chiefs this week, tweets Greg Auman of The Athletic. Cross, who posted 13 receptions over three seasons in Tampa Bay, would give Kansas City an option as they seek to replace former No. 2 tight end Demetrius Harris. The Chiefs also met with former Jets tight end Neal Sterling this week.

Extra Points: Steelers, Patriots, Seahawks

Cornerback Mike Hilton doesn’t plan to immediately sign his exclusive rights free agent tender as he waits for a new, long-term deal from the Steelers, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). As an exclusive rights free agent, Hilton has no leverage with Pittsburgh: he can either accept a minimum salary pact from the Steelers, or decide not to play football in 2019. ERFAs and restricted free agents do hold one advantage over other young players who were drafted, however, as they can receive extensions after only two seasons (drafted players must wait at least three years). One of the better slot corners in the league, Hilton has appeared in 31 games over the past two seasons, posting three interceptions and five sacks during that span. He doesn’t plan to miss any offseason work as he pushes for a new contract, per Fowler.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Running back James White and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy each missed out on playtime/performance bonus thresholds in 2018, but the Patriots have decided to pay each player his bonus anyway, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. White will collect a $250K bonus, which he would have earned by reaching 1,200 total yards (he managed 1,176), per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Meanwhile, Guy needed to play 50% of New England’s defensive snaps for his own $250K bonus, but fell three snaps short. Together, the bonuses will add $500K to the Patriots’ salary cap, but New England can feel secure in rewarding its players. The Pats did the same thing for Guy in 2018 when he barely failed to earn a $500K bonus.
  • Doug Baldwin has already had knee and shoulder surgeries this offseason, and the veteran Seahawks receiver may have to go under the knife yet again. Appearing on Sports Radio KJR, Baldwin indicated he’s likely to require another operation in the coming months (Twitter link via Curtis Crabtree of KJR). In April, Baldwin is expected to travel to Philadelphia to meet with a specialist regarding a possible sports hernia, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. Baldwin, 30, missed three games with a knee issue in 2018 and didn’t appear fully healthy once he returned to action.
  • Free agent Jake Fisher will work out as a tight end for the Redskins on Thursday, tweets John Keim of ESPN.com. A second-round pick of the Bengals as an offensive tackle in 2015, Fisher is now attempting to convert to a skill position, and is reportedly down to 285 pounds. Fisher, who played tight end in high school, has been limited by injuries and ineffectiveness throughout his career, and has started just 12 games in four years. He auditioned for the Texans last week.

Texans Work Out Jake Fisher

Jake Fisher — who is attempting a conversion from offensive tackle to tight end — tried out for the Texans today, according to Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

It’s unclear at what position Houston worked Fisher today, but the club could use help at both tackle and tight end. The Texans fielded one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines in 2018, giving up a league-leading 62 sacks while ranking 27th in adjusted line yards. But Houston’s tight end room is just as uninspiring, as its led by options such as Ryan Griffin and Jordan Akins.

Fisher reportedly had dropped to 285 pounds as of earlier this month, and if that’s the case, he won’t have the size for tackle and is probably trying out as a tight end. While any sort of position change is difficult, Fisher does come with prior tight end experience, as he was an acclaimed TE in high school.

A second-round pick of the Bengals in the 2015 draft, Fisher has been limited by injuries and ineffectiveness during his career. Over four years in Cincinnati, Fisher appeared in 48 games but made only 12 starts despite the Bengals’ severe need for competent offensive tackle play.

Jake Fisher Attempting Move To Tight End

The Bengals’ tackle-tackle start to the 2015 draft, which produced Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher, did not pan out. Both are free agents coming off mediocre tenures in Cincinnati. The latter, however, is planning an interesting rebranding strategy.

Fisher has been running routes with NFL quarterbacks this offseason, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), and is trying to start anew as a blocking tight end. Teams have shown interest and want to put him through workouts come free agency, RapSheet adds. Fisher, 25, has dropped down to 285 pounds.

This sounds like a wild experiment, but Fisher does have a tight end background. Prior to his days at Oregon, he was an acclaimed tight end in high school. He was a full-time offensive lineman, going from guard to tackle, with the Ducks.

With the Bengals, Fisher only saw one season as a primary starter — 2017, which featured a season-ending injury after eight games. He ended the 2018 season on IR as well, which stands to limit his options in free agency. But it looks like the 6-foot-6 blocker will try to show teams another feature of his game when the market opens.

Bengals Place Jake Fisher On IR

The Bengals placed offensive lineman Jake Fisher on injured reserve due to his ailing back, per a team announcement. Fisher is now the 14th player to land on the Bengals’ IR this season.

The Bengals acted fast to replace Fisher, signing old friend Andre Smith on Thursday morning. Smith may offer experience and familiarity with the Bengals’ blocking schemes, but he is far less skilled at this point in his career than the 25-year-old.

Fisher, a second-round pick in the 2015 draft, also missed half of the 2017 season with an irregular heartbeat. This is a disappointing way for his 2018 season to end, especially since he is slated to reach the open market in March.

The Bengals, who are also without starting quarterback Andy Dalton, face extremely long odds of making the postseason. According to Five Thirty Eight, they have just a 6% chance of making the playoffs with a 1% probability of passing the Steelers and Ravens to win the AFC North.

North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Vikings

Bengals tackle Jake Fisher returned to full participation for the first time in many months. The fourth-year blocker underwent surgery this offseason to correct an irregular heartbeat and was limited during OTAs. On Wednesday, Fisher was present for a full workout at Bengals minicamp, per Laurel Pfahler of ESPN.com. Fisher’s 2017 season ended in early November, but the Bengals remain optimistic he can bounce back and have a productive contract year. Despite the Bengals acquiring Cordy Glenn this offseason, Fisher is nonetheless a decent bet to start. He’s the leading candidate to start opposite Glenn at right tackle.

Here’s the latest from Cincinnati, as well as some other northern cities.

  • Bengals rookie quarterback Logan Woodside was arrested for speeding and driving under the influence, cincinnati.com’s Jim Owczarski and Bob Strickley report. This occurred in Kentucky on the morning of June 9. The Bengals confirmed they were aware of the incident. Cincinnati selected Woodside in the seventh round out of Toledo. With A.J. McCarron gone, the job of Bengals backup falls to a competition between Woodside, Matt Barkley and Jeff Driskel.
  • Multiple AFC West teams gave Donald Stephenson chances to be a starting right tackle, but he could not maintain the job in Kansas City or Denver. He’s now in Cleveland but was not present for the start of Browns minicamp, according to Pat McManamon of ESPN.com. Stephenson missed a sizable portion of Cleveland’s OTAs, per McManamon, as well and would be in position to incur fines for missing minicamp workouts. Hue Jackson said Wednesday this situation will be explained soon. Stephenson may not have a solidified roster spot, with the Browns having signed Chris Hubbard and drafted Austin Corbett in the second round. Shon Coleman is also in the mix for either the starting left tackle job or a swing role, which could make matters more difficult to stick with his most recent AFC franchise.
  • J.W. Johnson, son-in-law of Jimmy Haslam, will now serve as Browns executive vice president, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets. Johnson will assume those duties July 1. La Canfora reported last year Johnson was moving into a bigger role with the Browns. Johnson worked at CBS Sports for many years before spending four years at Haslam’s Pilot Flying J company earlier this decade.
  • Rookie defensive end Jalyn Holmes suffered a broken hand and is not participating in Vikings minicamp, Mike Zimmer said (via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, on Twitter). Slated to be a backup edge defender behind Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter, the fourth-round pick is expected to be ready for training camp.

North Rumors: Bryant, Packers, Fisher, Lions

While the Steelers are not believed to be making calls about Martavis Bryant, they are expected to discuss the wide receiver with teams at the Combine, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). Rapoport does, in fact, note the Steelers are open to listening to offers for Bryant but don’t appear to be too aggressive about that at this juncture. However, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes Bryant has expressed desire to be a No. 1 receiver, and that’s not going to happen with likely Hall of Fame candidate Antonio Brown on the Steelers. This helps explain why the sides have not discussed a long-term extension or bridge contract. Bryant is entering his contract year, and the Steelers like their trio of wideouts. But Fowler writes the franchise doesn’t want Bryant causing any problems this season, which would make a trade logical. Fowler writes it would not be a surprise for Bryant to skip offseason workouts to display his frustration with his status.

Here’s the latest from some North teams as Combine itineraries are being finalized.

  • An irregular heartbeat shelved Jake Fisher midway through the season, inducing the Bengals to place their right tackle on the Reserve/NFI list. But the fourth-year blocker has been cleared to return to action, the Bengals announced. A 2015 second-rounder, Fisher is entering a contract year. He started a career-high seven games in 2017 prior to the heart problem sidelining him. The franchise is optimistic Fisher can have a strong season.
  • The Packers‘ strategy at backup quarterback put them in danger in 2013, when Aaron Rodgers‘ first collarbone injury occurred, and burned them last season after Rodgers suffered a similar malady. Multiple scouts who spoke with Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette said the Packers need to prioritize their backup quarterback more appropriately, with one making a notable claim the position was on par with left tackle in terms of importance. While that seems extreme, Rodgers has now missed 16 games between those two seasons. Dougherty mentions Sam Bradford as a possibility while one scout named Matt Moore and Ryan Fitzpatrick as superior options to Brett Hundley. Bradford indicated he plans to play in 2018 despite his injury history, but teams pining for Kirk Cousins may view he or A.J. McCarron as contingency plans as starters.
  • Teams are now free to place their respective franchise tags on players, and Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes this makes the most sense for the Lions. While $17.5MM is steep for a player with Ansah’s inconsistent track record, the former first-rounder is Detroit’s best pass rusher. And on a market light on proven edge help, the Lions might be wise to keep Ansah for at least another season.