Javon Wims

Latest On Browns’ Wide Receiver Situation

Fans of the Browns may have been hoping to add a few more veteran bodies to the wide receiver room this offseason, but, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, the Browns “don’t feel compelled to add a bona fide No. 2 just for the sake of it.” 

Cleveland’s receiving stats last year were nothing short of disappointing. Their wide receiver room was headed by Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry coming into the season with youngsters Anthony Schwartz and Donovan Peoples-Jones eager to contribute. Paired with a three-headed tight end attack comprised of David Njoku, Austin Hooper, and Harrison Bryant, the Browns’ offensive weapons looked poised for success.

Several factors contributed to the team’s lack of production in the passing game. Quarterback Baker Mayfield played throughout the season with a torn labrum, missing some time due to the injury and leading to starts by backups Case Keenum and Nick Mullens. A disgruntled Beckham parted ways with the franchise following a frustrating first half of the season and Landry saw injuries limit his action to 12 games. Peoples-Jones made an impact, leading the team in receiving yards, but without the two leaders of the room, his efforts look less like an impressive No. 3 receiver and more like a disappointing No. 1 target. After Landry and Peoples-Jones, Mayfield mostly targeted his tight ends, with Njoku, Hooper, and Bryant making up half of the team’s top-6 players in receiving yards. Again, much like with Peoples-Jones, the tight end room’s contribution was welcomed, but without a productive 1-2 punch from the receiving corps, it only helped so much.

With veterans Beckham, Landry, and Rashard Higgins all finding their way to the NFC this offseason, the Browns lost their entire veteran presence. To offset the losses, Cleveland brought in Amari Cooper, who immediately slots in as WR1, and the diminutive Jakeem Grant, an expert in the return game. They retain youngsters Schwartz, Peoples-Jones, and Ja’Marcus Bradley, while bringing in an unproven pass catcher in Javon Wims. Through the Draft, Cleveland brought in Purdue’s David Bell and Oklahoma’s Michael Woods II. They also signed a number of undrafted college players in Isaiah Weston, Travell Harris, and Mike Harley. At tight end, the departure of Hooper leaves Cleveland with Njoku, Bryant, and unproven projects like Miller Forristall, Nakia Griffin-Stewart, Zaire Mitchell-Paden, and college basketball player Marcus Santos-Silva.

It seems Cleveland is comfortable moving forward with Cooper and Peoples-Jones as their top two receivers while counting on Grant, Schwartz, and the rookie, Bell, to contribute behind them. They’ll continue to rely on tight ends Njoku and Bryant, leaning on them slightly more now that Hooper is out of the picture.

If the Browns were able to luck into a mutually beneficial deal, they may find themselves reconsidering their mindset on a veteran No.2 receiver. The free agent market still houses distinguished names like Julio Jones, T.Y. Hilton, Emmanuel Sanders, and DeSean Jackson. Past contributors like Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, and Albert Wilson remain on the market, as well. Beckham is currently a free agent who has expressed interest in returning to his most recent home in Los Angeles, but he recently claimed he wouldn’t rule out a return to Cleveland. Former Texan Will Fuller is also available to sign and has expressed interest in rejoining his former quarterback.

Regardless of whether or not they choose to add another weapon to their receiving corps, the Browns are hoping for a different outcome simply by changing the composition of personnel. Perhaps more important than any of the additions and subtractions noted above is the acquisition of quarterback Deshaun Watson. It’s unclear how soon he’ll be able to contribute, but the prospect, alone, of having the three-time Pro Bowler under center is enough to instill confidence in the receiving room as it is for the Cleveland staff.

Browns Sign Isaac Rochell, Javon Wims

The Browns have made a depth addition on each side of the ball. The team announced Wednesday the signings of defensive end Isaac Rochell and receiver Javon Wims

Rochell, who will turn 27 later this week, began his career with the Chargers. In four years there, he rarely started, but played a notable role in the team’s defensive front. His best season came in 2018, when he registered 29 tackles and five of his 9.5 career sacks.

His play earned him a deal from the Colts last offseason. The value of the one-year contract outweighed what the Chargers could have paid to keep him, but his production points to letting him leave having been the right decision. In 12 games, Rochell totalled 17 tackles and no sacks. Now, he will join a Browns team which just recently signed Stephen Weatherly.

Wims, 27, is also joining a new team for the second time in his career. A seventh-round pick of the Bears in 2018, he started seven of 33 games in Chicago. He recorded 18 receptions and 186 yards in 2019, but made just 10 total catches in his other two campaigns. After being waived by the Bears, he spent 2021 on the Raiders’ practice squad.

These deals likely won’t have any significant effect on Cleveland’s cap space, meaning that reunions with the likes of Jadeveon Clowney and Jarvis Landry are still possible. In any event, these two represent depth at key positions for a team looking to seriously contend in the AFC in 2022.

Raiders Re-Sign OL Jermaine Eluemunor

After appearing in 14 games for the Raiders last season, offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor has agreed to return to Las Vegas, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. In a series of transactions heading into the weekend, the Raiders have made sure to bring back a proven backup lineman who could earn a starting spot. 

A fifth-round pick for the Ravens in 2017, Eluemunor had already traveled more than most draft prospects. Eluemunor was born in England, moving to New Jersey in his teenage years and finding football. After applying to around 120 schools, he earned a scholarship to Texas A&M before getting drafted to Baltimore.

Eluemunor had three starts in two seasons with the Ravens as a reserve lineman before being traded alongside a sixth-round pick to New England in exchange for a fourth-round pick. His first year as a Patriot was plagued with injury, but he was named the starting right tackle to start the 2020 NFL season. A Week 6 ankle injury landed Eluemunor on injured reserve, but he returned four weeks later to start four of the eight remaining games of the season.

A free agent after his stint in New England, Eluemunor signed with the Dolphins, getting cut before the season started. Four days later, he joined the Jaguars for a four-day period before getting cut yet again. Eluemunor wasn’t unemployed for long, though. Two days later, Eluemunor landed in Vegas.

An injury to Week 1 starter Denzelle Good elevated Eluemunor to first-string in a matchup versus his former team, the Ravens. Eluemunor, who had been with the team for only two weeks, made three more starts for Las Vegas before returning to his role as a backup and special teamer.

The Raiders return key contributors from last year Kolton Miller, John Simpson, Alex Leatherwood, and Andre James. Vegas has also re-signed back ups Jackson Barton and Brandon Parker, as well as recently signing Alex Bars, who started 11 games in three seasons with the Bears. Despite the addition of Bars, the Raiders have a ton of familiarity heading into 2022.

In contrast to the recent additions, Las Vegas has cut cornerback Jordan Brown, defensive end P.J. Johnson, offensive lineman William Sweet, safety Natrell Jamerson, and wide receiver Javon Wims.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/19/22

We’ll keep track of Wednesday’s reserve/futures deals here:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

  • CB Lamar Jackson

Cleveland Browns

  • RB John Kelly Jr.

Las Vegas Raiders

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 1/11/22

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: WR John Hurst

Tennessee Titans

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/29/21

Today’s taxi squad moves:

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/26/21

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

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Indianapolis Colts

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Anthony Miller On Bears’ Roster Bubble

Anthony Miller came up in trade rumors at the start of free agency and popped up again as a movable piece closer to the draft. The Bears ended up holding onto their contract-year slot receiver, but this certainly does not mean Miller will be in Chicago this season.

Miller’s trade-block status was not about obtaining value for a player the Bears do not plan to re-sign, with Adam Jahns of The Athletic noting the former second-round pick is on Chicago’s roster bubble going into training camp (subscription required).

This comes after a minor injury prevented Miller from participating in Chicago’s minicamp earlier this month. Quality minicamp showings elevated veteran signings Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd past Miller in the Bears’ receiver pecking order, Jahns adds, with third- and fourth-year wideouts Riley Ridley and Javon Wims joining Miller on the bubble.

Darnell Mooney usurped Miller as the Bears’ No. 2 wide receiver last season, playing 73% of the team’s offensive snaps (to Miller’s 55%) and outgaining him 631-485 through the air. Neither surpassed 10.5 yards per catch, however, for a still-Allen Robinson-dependent passing attack. Miller has flashed in the past, catching seven touchdown passes while playing through injury as a rookie and posting 656 receiving yards with Mitchell Trubisky at the helm in 2019. The Bears will still need to see more come camp.

Rookie sixth-rounder Dazz Newsome is sidelined with a broken collarbone, and although Goodwin will be on time to camp after failing to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team in the long jump, the speedster has not caught a pass in a game since November 2019. Ridley and Wims’ roster statuses appear more tenuous than Miller’s as well, with Jahns adding the Bears would likely be more willing to carry Miller onto the roster after cutdown day compared to the other two. Miller is set to earn $1.21MM in base salary this season.

Bears’ Javon Wims Suspended Two Games

The league is coming down swiftly on Bears receiver Javon Wims for the punches he threw at Chauncey Gardner-Johnson Sunday. Wims is being suspended for two games, the NFL announced Monday.

You can read the full explanation in the league’s release here. Wims was ejected after bizarrely attacking the Saints cornerback and swinging wildly at him. Wims told team officials that Gardner-Johnson spit on him and ripped his mouthpiece out earlier in the game prior to the incident, sources told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

The Georgia product plans to appeal his suspension, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network notes (Twitter link). Gardner-Johnson apparently has a knack for getting under people’s skin, as he was on the receiving end of teammate Michael Thomas‘ punch during practice that got Thomas suspended for a game by the Saints.

Wims is a 2018 seventh-round pick from Georgia who played a significant role on offense last year. Appearing in all 16 games with six starts, he turned 39 targets into only 18 receptions for 186 yards and one touchdown. So far this year he has five catches for 35 yards and a score.

North Notes: Hundley, K. White, Hurst

Although many have assumed that the Packers will keep DeShone Kizer on their final roster — after all, Kizer is just one year removed from being a second-round draft pick, and Green Bay liked him enough to trade for him this offseason — Eric Baranczyk and Pete Dougherty of PackersNews.com believe the Packers should keep Brett Hundley and cut Kizer if it comes to that. Baranczyk and Dougherty say the game has slowed more for Hundley than it has for Kizer, and the fact that Green Bay recently traded for Kizer should not be a factor in the team’s decision (after all, the Packers were likely to cut Damarious Randall anyway if Cleveland hadn’t been willing to deal Kizer for him). Ideally, the Packers would be able to swing a trade for one of Hundley or Kizer, but failing that, the Packers News scribes think GM Brian Gutekunst should stick with Hundley, who did not play very well in relief of the injured Aaron Rodgers last year.

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from the league’s North divisions:

  • Wide receivers Kevin White and Javon Wims both improved their chances of making the Bears‘ 53-man roster during Chicago’s preseason victory over Kansas City last night, as Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. White, of course, was the No. 7 overall pick of the 2015 draft — and GM Ryan Pace‘s first-ever draft choice — but injuries have almost completely wiped out the first three years of his NFL career. Wims was a seventh-round selection in this year’s draft, and Jahns believes the Bears should keep both players and six receivers overall, including Josh Bellamy.
  • Although Mackensie Alexander is battling an ankle injury, he is expected to start as the Vikings‘ slot corner — and “quarterback of the defense” in head coach Mike Zimmer‘s scheme — if he is healthy, as Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune reports. However, first-round rookie Mike Hughes — who is also battling an undisclosed injury — has been pushing for first-team reps, which is fairly remarkable when considering that he did not play in the slot in college. Hughes could overtake Alexander down the line, but in any case, Minnesota appears to be well-set at the position in the long-term. Alexander, a 2016 second-rounder, has made tremendous strides in his third summer with the club.
  • Though they had been enjoying an injury- and drama-free offseason, the Ravens have been hit hard with unwelcome news over the past few days. They lost rookie TE Hayden Hurst for three-to-four weeks, they saw star CB Jimmy Smith suspended for four games — though they at least knew that was coming — and now Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic has more bad news to report. Zrebiec tweets that emerging third-year defensive tackle Willie Henry will miss several weeks with a hernia, while promising rookie safety DeShon Elliott may be out for the season with a forearm injury. Zrebiec adds that the recent spate of bad luck will impact Baltimore’s initial roster construction, because while the team will likely carry Hurst and Henry on the 53-man roster until they are ready to return, the Ravens may need to keep an extra tight end and defensive lineman until that happens (Twitter link). Elliott, meanwhile, is an IR candidate. Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com reports that Henry had surgery for his hernia and Hurst has had surgery for the stress fracture in his foot (Twitter links).
  • Browns head coach Hue Jackson wants to keep six wide receivers on the team’s regular-season roster, as Steve Doerschuk of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway, and Rashard Higgins make up four of those six wideouts, while sixth-round rookie Damion Ratley also stands a good chance. That means veteran Jeff Janis and relative unknowns Derrick WilliesDa’Mari Scott, and C.J. Board could be fighting it out for the last spot.