10:48am: As it turns out, the Perriman release did not spell good news for Washington. Despite being signed just 10 days ago, Washington has also been cut, as Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports.
10:04am: After signing him in June, the Colts kept veteran wide receiver Breshad Perriman on the roster throughout the summer and the preseason. However, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports, Indianapolis is releasing the former first-rounder.
Perriman, who will turn 30 next month, never lived up to his status as the 26th overall pick of the 2015 draft, but he has had stretches of productivity for multiple clubs in his pro career. The deep threat amassed a career-high 645 receiving yards with the Bucs in 2019 and added 505 for the ’20 Jets, and new Colts offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter was on the Jets’ staff (albeit as running backs coach) during Perriman’s season with Gang Green.
Perriman came back to Tampa for the 2021-22 seasons, though he was unable to make much of an impact with the Tom Brady-led outfit, catching 20 balls for 277 yards and two touchdowns over the past two years combined. Still, it made sense for a Colts club that has some question marks behind its top two outside-the-numbers receivers (Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce) to take a chance on an experienced player who boasts a career 16.2 yards-per-reception average and a history of usefulness.
It could be that the Colts have a handshake agreement to re-sign Perriman after players who find themselves on the initial 53-man roster are placed on IR. Or, perhaps the club simply prefers to move forward with the newly-signed James Washington and younger options like Mike Strachan.
In three preseason games this summer, Perriman caught four passes for 34 yards.
Washington is running out of time to prove himself in the NFL. The Cowboys and Saints have released the former second-round pick over the past year, and the Giants did not use him in a game after adding him late last season.
The Colts will see how Washington looks in their system. Teams must trim their rosters from 90 to 53 by 3pm August 29. After two years of going back to a tiered cut system, the NFL reintroduced the 90-to-53 slash this year. That will lead to more players hitting waivers than at previous points in the 2020s. This does not affect Washington, who is a vested veteran. But the ex-Steelers draftee does not have much time to prove himself in Indianapolis.
The Steelers used Washington as a regular in 2019, when an elbow injury sidelined Ben Roethlisberger after two games. Teaming with ex-college teammate Mason Rudolph, Washington put together his best NFL stretch. He totaled 44 receptions for 735 yards and three touchdowns that year. Although Washington’s five touchdown receptions helped Pittsburgh bounce back and win the NFC North in 2020, Chase Claypool usurped him in the team’s receiver rotation. Washington only finished with 285 receiving yards in 2021. A foot fracture sustained early during Cowboys training camp last year derailed the 5-foot-11 deep threat in Dallas.
With 16-man practice squads able to include up to six vested veterans, Washington would also have a chance to land here with the Colts, who waived wide receiver Malik Turner with an injury designation Friday. A former Seahawks, Cowboys and 49ers cog, Turner signed with the Colts in February.
Washington joined the Saints on a one-year deal in May and was expected to compete for a roster spot. The 27-year-old is the latest veteran receiver to earn their walking papers, as receiver Keke Coutee was cut by the team this past weekend.
The veteran wideout spent most of the 2022 season on the Cowboys’ injured reserve, but he managed to get into two games for Dallas before getting cut. He spent the rest of the year on the Giants practice squad. It wasn’t that long ago that Washington was a mainstay on the Steelers offense. The Oklahoma State product never hit his second-round pedigree, but he did average 32 receptions for 470 yards per season between 2019 and 2021.
Mayfield started 15 of the 18 games he played at Michigan at right tackle. He struggled at guard as a rookie; Pro Football Focus rated him as one of the NFL’s worst O-linemen that year. Guard does not appear to be in Mayfield’s past, however, with Arthur Smith suggesting a swing backup role is likely. The Falcons re-signed right tackle Kaleb McGary this offseason and look to have a fairly set O-line, with Chris Lindstrom, longtime left tackle Jake Matthews and center Drew Dalman rounding out the unit.
Here is the latest from the NFC South:
Calais Campbell is expected to play a true edge role in Atlanta, to the point Ledbetter slots the 300-pound defender as an outside linebacker in the Falcons’ defense. It should not be expected Campbell will spend much time in a standup position outside, but it is interesting the career-long D-lineman is even mentioned as a candidate to do so. Campbell is aiming to play around 60% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps, per Ledbetter. That would be in line with the veteran’s Ravens role; he respectively logged 64% and 62% snap rates over the past two seasons. Campbell, who signed a one-year deal worth $7MM, will turn 37 in September.
On the topic of positional adjustments, the Panthers are giving Jordan Thomas a shot as an edge rusher. Formerly a sixth-round Texans pick in 2018, Thomas was a tight end during his previous NFL run. He caught 20 passes as a Houston rookie. Thomas, however, saw some time as an edge rusher in the XFL, and Joe Person of The Athletic notes he will attempt to make the Panthers’ 53-man roster as an outside linebacker (subscription required). This is a somewhat unusual transition, as Thomas still primarily played tight end in the XFL. He caught three TD passes this season.
Through two seasons, the Saints have not seen much from first-round pick Payton Turner. The 2021 draftee should not be considered a lock to make New Orleans’ 53-man roster, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football writes. While Turner will be expected to make the team, due to his draft status and contract, the defensive end has three sacks in two seasons and was a healthy scratch at points last year. The Saints used a second-round pick on a D-end (Isaiah Foskey) and re-signed Tanoh Kpassagnon, but the team also let Marcus Davenport leave in free agency. The Saints would eat $3.2MM in dead money by waiving Turner; the Houston alum showing belated development would obviously be the best-case scenario for the team.
New Orleans also did not re-sign Jarvis Landry this offseason, leaving some competition for the receiver spots alongside Chris Olave and Michael Thomas. James Washington is not a lock to make the Saints’ roster, but Underhill adds the ex-Steelers second-rounder impressed during the offseason program and will be in the mix to snag one of the backup jobs. The Saints signed Washington to a league-minimum deal with nothing guaranteed.
The Panthers are still determining the best way to deploy Laviska Shenault, but Person notes a bigger run-game role will likely be in the cards. A fourth-year wide receiver, Shenault totaled nine carries last season. One of them went for a 41-yard touchdown. The former second-round pick worked in a hybrid capacity at points in Jacksonville as well and has logged 38 career carries.
Not long after conducting a free agent visit, James Washingtonhas found his next NFL home. The veteran receiver is signing with the Saints, reports ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (Twitter link).
Fowler had previously noted Washington’s planned Monday visit to New Orleans (on Twitter), so it comes as little surprise that he is now agreeing to join the team’s new-look passing attack. The Saints represent the fourth career team for the former Steelers second-rounder, and the third that he will see playing time with.
Washington, 27, seemed poised to become the latest homegrown Pittsburgh wideout to turn into a high-end contributor early in his career. His second season, in 2019, saw him post a 44-735-3 statline, and he followed that up with five touchdowns the following year. The Oklahoma State product had an underwhelming campaign in 2021, however, and departed the Steelers in free agency.
He signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys last offseason, giving him an opportunity to reaffirm his status as a capable deep threat on an offense which lost Amari Cooperand Cedrick Wilsonthat offseason. However, a foot injury limited Washington to just two games with Dallas, and he was waived near the end of the season. The Giants signed him shortly thereafter, but he did not make any appearances with them. Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football tweets that the 5-11, 213-pounder is now healthy, though.
Although the Giants have received somewhat surprising production from a largely unknown cast of wide receivers, the resurgent team is not heading into the playoffs with much of note at that position. That situation has persisted for most of this season.
The team brought in a veteran for potential help Wednesday morning. After a workout, the Giants are signing James Washington, Aaron Wilson of KPRC tweets. The Cowboys waived the former second-round pick recently.
This is a practice squad agreement, but Washington will join a team that has relied on the likes of Isaiah Hodgins and Richie James complementing Darius Slayton for much of the year. It will be interesting to see if the Giants, who have seen some in-season additions play big roles for them under Brian Daboll, make a move to bump the former Steelers target up to their active roster.
Both Jaylon Smith and Fabian Moreau have played key roles for the Giants on defense, despite neither being with the team at the start of the season. Ditto Landon Collins, who reunited with his original NFL team early in the year. Collins has become a more integral piece for the rebuilding team down the stretch. Both Moreau and Collins came to the Giants as practice squad players. Hodgins also did not start the season with the team, being claimed off waivers from the Bills midway through the season.
Washington, 26, was unable to carve out a role in Dallas. A broken foot harpooned the former Oklahoma State standout’s season. Following the training camp injury, Washington did not make his debut until Week 14. He ended up playing in just two games (15 total offensive snaps) for the Cowboys, who signed T.Y. Hilton after an extensive Odell Beckham Jr. flirtation. The latter also visited the Giants, who have changed up their receiving situation since Week 1.
Hodgins and James are playing major roles because of injuries to Sterling Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson and an October trade of Kadarius Toney. Although Kenny Golladay scored a touchdown against the Eagles, the former Lions Pro Bowler has been a massive disappointment as a Giant. They will kick the tires on Washington, who does have a 700-plus-yard receiving season — back in 2019, when college teammate Mason Rudolph was mainly the one throwing passes his way — on his resume. He also scored five touchdowns in 2020. The Steelers minimized Washington’s role during the second half of his rookie contract, however, leading to the low-cost Cowboys deal.
James Washington is heading to the waiver wire for the first time. The Cowboys are cutting their offseason pickup, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
Dallas’ evolving wide receiver cast now includes T.Y. Hilton, who has overtaken Washington and served as a Dak Prescott auxiliary target in recent weeks. Washington has not played since Week 15; Hilton’s debut led to the younger wideout being a healthy scratch for the past two games. The former Steelers second-round pick will be available to the league’s other 31 teams soon.
The Cowboys signed Washington, 26, to a one-year deal worth just more than $1MM this offseason, taking a flier on the former Steelers contributor. But a broken foot sustained during training camp changed Dallas’ plans. Washington did not make his season debut until Week 14. He has played just 15 offensive snaps this season, catching zero passes.
Although the endlessly rumored Cowboys-Odell Beckham Jr. partnership has not come to fruition, the team added Hilton in December. The 11th-year veteran has emerged early in his Dallas tenure, catching five passes — one on a third-and-30 to help the Cowboys past the Eagles — for 102 yards in his first two games. The third-leading receiver in Colts history, Hilton has fit in alongside CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. It looks like that setup will continue into the postseason, with Beckham still a free agent and Washington headed to the wire.
Chosen 60th overall in 2018, Washington did not catch on in Pittsburgh the way many Day 2 receivers have over the past several years. Following a 735-yard 2019 season spent mostly catching passes from ex-Oklahoma State teammate Mason Rudolph, Washington saw his playing time diminish. The Steelers selected Chase Claypool in the second round of the 2020 draft and bumped him ahead of Washington later that year. Even as JuJu Smith-Schuster missed most of the 2021 season, Washington was unable to carve out a major role. He caught 24 passes for 285 yards last season.
Dallas made Washington and Jalen Tolbert its top two outside receiver investments this offseason; Tolbert has two receptions thus far. In addition to Hilton, sixth-year Cowboy Noah Brown has stepped in as a tertiary target for the team. Brown’s 545 receiving yards sit second among Cowboys this season.
While the NFL awaits the outcome of the OBJ sweepstakes, the Cowboys are still making other moves at the position. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Cowboys are activating wide receiver James Washington from injured reserve.
Washington joined the Cowboys this offseason but a foot injury forced him on IR before the start of the season. There seemed to be growing optimism that Washington would be ready for tomorrow’s game against the Texans, with Patrik Walker of the team’s website writing that the receiver ramped up his workload over the past few days. Washington was designated to return late last week.
“I feel great,” Washington told Walker. “From four weeks ago to now, I feel a lot stronger in my plants and catching the ball in general. It’s kind of like riding a bike at this point. Once you start doing it, it all just feels natural.”
A former second-round pick, Washington was productive during his sophomore campaign with the Steelers, hauling in 44 receptions for 735 yards and three touchdowns. His numbers dropped in 2020 and 2021, with the wideout compiling 54 receptions for 677 yards and seven touchdowns between the two seasons.
DECEMBER 2: McCarthy confirmed the Cowboys’ Smith timeline Friday, indicating the team is hopeful the 12th-year blocker can return to practice next week, The Athletic’s Jon Machota tweets. Smith, 32, suffered the injury August 24. Should Smith show sufficient form in practice, the Cowboys are expected to reinstall him at his left tackle post.
NOVEMBER 30: Two key Cowboys IR moves could commence soon. Wide receiver James Washington returned to practice Wednesday, starting his 21-day activation clock. Tyron Smith‘s DFR transaction does not appear far off.
Smith being designated for return next week would mandate a regular-season activation, as teams have 21 days from the DFR transaction to move a player back onto the 53-man roster. Only one team, the Steelers, has thus far let a player’s IR-return clock expire without an activation this season. But the Cowboys have consistently eyed a late-season Smith return.
There will be no position drama when Smith is ready to come back. Jerry Jones put a stop to that recently, indicating during a 105.3 The Fan interview (via Archer, on Twitter) Tyler Smith would move back to guard once Tyron Smith was ready to play. Tyron Smith has been Dallas’ primary left tackle for 11 years. Despite frequent injury trouble, the former first-round pick — an All-Decade performer — has been one of the best in the game when available.
Tyron’s return would inject more optimism into this Cowboys operation, which has been the most promising Dallas squad since 2016. The team can slide Tyler Smith to left guard, and Jones does not anticipate any trouble for the first-round rookie in moving inside. Tyler Smith, however, was not running away with the guard competition against Connor McGovern during their training camp battle. Tyron Smith’s injury changed the team’s plans, and the Tulsa product has started every game back at his college position with Dallas.
The Cowboys have considerable insurance at left tackle, with Jason Peters also in the fold. Peters has since moved to guard but has not seen too much action in his age-40 season. He has been used as a sub and has gone through some games without seeing any time. Mostly recently, Peters did play 20 snaps against the Vikings. McGovern has been the Cowboys’ primary left guard starter. Still, Peters and Tyron Smith have a combined 17 Pro Bowls on their resume. Adding in Zack Martin‘s seven, the Cowboys have one of the most accomplished O-line contingents in modern NFL history. Tyron Smith’s return represents the final piece to the puzzle.
Signed to one-year deal worth the league minimum, Washington is no stranger to seeing his role reduced. The Steelers moved Chase Claypool ahead of him previously and did not re-sign him in free agency. Washington has not cleared 400 receiving yards in a season since 2019, when he worked mostly with college teammate Mason Rudolph. Given the Cowboys’ receiver situation and Washington’s injury hiatus, he likely will go a third straight season without 400 yards. But the fifth-year veteran could still be a valuable backup for Dallas.
We heard earlier this week that Dak Prescott was eyeing a Week 5 return, but Week 6 may end up being a more realistic target. Clarence Hill Jr. of the Dallas Star-Telegram tweets that Prescott won’t start throwing until the end of this week. Assuming the QB wants more than a week to ramp up, the Cowboys’ October 16 game against the Eagles may be a more realistic return date.
Prescott has been soft tossing but has yet to progress to “real throwing.” The fact that he’s throwing at all has led some to wonder if the quarterback could even return in Week 4 against Washington. Hill completely rules out that notion, and he suggests Prescott won’t even be ready for the Week 5 contest against the Rams.
Dallas can operate with a bit more caution after backup Cooper Rush has helped guide the Cowboys to wins over the Bengals and Giants. The team can continue to operate with some flexibility after not placing Dak on injured reserve, a move that would have kept him off the field through Week 5.
More notes out of Dallas…
Speaking of Rush, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post explores the Giants’ reasoning for moving on from the QB. After spending the first three seasons of his career in Dallas, Rush was claimed off waivers by the Giants in 2020. He had a brief stint on their practice squad before getting released, and that led to his return to the Cowboys. While Rush had fans in New York (including former head coach Joe Judge and former OC Jason Garrett), he also had some detractors, leading to the organization replacing him with Clayton Thorson. “The decision-makers with the Giants felt like they weren’t overly impressed with how he played or what his potential was,” Garrett told Dunleavy. “To me, Coop is not someone who wows you physically. Sometimes you get caught up in that. Sometimes those decisions happen.”
Meanwhile, wideout James Washington is still a few weeks away from returning, per Hill on Twitter. The veteran receiver signed with Dallas this offseason but landed on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury. He’ll be eligible to return in Week 5, but it sounds like he’ll need a bit more time to recover. Washington spent the first four years of his career with the Steelers, including a 2021 campaign where he hauled in 24 receptions for 285 yards.
Former Cowboys second-round pick Gavin Escobar was among two rock climbers who were found dead in a remote area near Idyllwild, CA, per the AP. The 31-year-old spent the first four seasons of his career in Dallas, appearing in 62 games. He bounced around the NFL a bit before ending his playing career in the Alliance of American Football.