The releases of Armstrong and Wells are interesting. Armstrong ended last year as a starting cornerback for the Falcons but will now have to continue striving to stay in the NFL. Wells’ release ends a short reunion with the team that drafted him.
Gaskin is reportedly expected to remain in Minnesota and sign to the team’s practice squad to be elevated on Sunday. This is likely a familiar tactic teams use in order to avoid guaranteeing the full value of low-cost veterans’ salaries. Those on the 53-man roster for Week 1 will be guaranteed, while players signed to the active roster after this week will only be guaranteed 35 percent.
Bryant’s short tenure in San Francisco ends as the team makes room for Nick Bosa, who will be activated from the reserve/did not report list after signing his five-year, $170MM extension.
Several of these players will be back, in all likelihood, via practice squad deals. Waiver claims process at 11am CT on Wednesday. Free agents can make plans to join P-squads early, but teams will not have the full picture of who is available until the waiver claims process.
Conner and Ollison being off the roster leaves third-round rookie Tank Bigsby, D’Ernest Johnson and Jamycal Hasty in place behind starter Travis Etienne. The Jaguars chose Conner in the 2022 fifth round, and while they traded James Robinson before last year’s deadline, Conner did not receive much work. He totaled 12 carries for 42 yards as a rookie.
Wells returned to Jacksonville earlier this month, but this IR placement will halt a journey back to regular-season work with his initial NFL team. Wells, 32, started nine games for the Jags from 2014-18. He then worked as a key Buccaneers backup over the past several years. Players placed on IR before the season are not eligible for in-season activations, though an injury settlement could allow Wells to play this season.
Josh Wells is back with his first organization. The Jaguars announced today that they’ve signed the free agent offensive lineman.
Wells joined the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent out of James Madison in 2014 and ended up spending five years with the organization, appearing in 56 games (10 starts). Following a 2018 campaign where he was limited to seven games thanks in part to a groin injury and a concussion, the lineman was cut by Jacksonville.
He later caught on with the Buccaneers, where he spent the past four seasons. After starting eight of his first 45 games with the organization, Wells started a career-high seven games in 2022. Other than his first season in Tampa Bay, Pro Football Focus has generally graded the veteran as a steady offensive tackle, with the site giving hims props for both his pass- and run-blocking abilities in 2022.
Wells will likely serve as a swing tackle once again in 2023. Cam Robinson and Walker Little are entrenched as the team’s starting tackles, so Wells would need an injury to crack the starting lineup.
Allen suffered a biceps injury in the Steelers win over Las Vegas, requiring surgery, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. With two games remaining and Pittsburgh in danger of elimination from postseason contention, Allen’s 2022 season has likely come to an end.
December 26th, 2022 at 10:32am CST by Adam La Rose
Tampa Bay earned a come-from-behind, overtime win last night to maintain their lead atop the NFC South. The Buccaneers lost another member of their offensive line for the remainder of the season in the process, however.
Swing tackle Josh Wellssuffered a torn patellar tendon in his left knee and is out for the year, reports Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). He was carted off the field after just 16 snaps yesterday, and was quickly ruled out by the team. That invited speculation that a major injury had occurred, and today’s news confirms that Tampa’s o-line has been dealt another blow.
Wells, 31, was set to make his fourth consecutive start in place of an injured starter at tackle on Sunday, having filled in for Tristan Wirfsthe previous three weeks. The latter returned for Week 16, but blindside protector Donovan Smithwas unable to play, requiring Wells to shift to the left tackle spot. Wells had already logged the most snaps in a season of his four-year tenure with the Buccaneers (310) prior to suffering the injury.
The former UDFA has made 56 total appearances in Tampa Bay since signing there in 2019. His experience filling in when needed and familiarity with the organization led to a fourth consecutive one-year deal this offseason. The injuries to Wirfs, and then Smith, highlighted his importance despite logging an overall snap share of only 41% on the year. Wells’ PFF grade for 2022 (67.8) was the second-highest of his career, behind only the rating from his rookie campaign in Jacksonville.
This news adds further to the tumult Tampa Bay has endured with respect to their offensive line this season. Both starting guard spots needed replacing with the retirement of Ali Marpetand the free agent departure of Alex Cappa. That was followed by center Ryan Jensengoing down with what is expected to be a season-ending injury of his own. The unit’s availability issues – which included Wells being placed on IR in September – have contributed to Tampa’s inconsistency on offense, which has seen the team rank last in rushing production.
If Smith (whom head coach Todd Bowles recently considered benching for performance reasons) is unable to suit up in Week 17, Tampa will likely turn to undrafted rookie Brandon Walton to fill in for him. The latter played 65 snaps in relief of Wells after he went down, and could have a significant role to play in the closing weeks of the season.
September 21st, 2022 at 9:46am CST by Sam Robinson
After injuries to veterans Giovani Bernard and Josh Wells, the Buccaneers are making roster adjustments. Both players landed on injured reserve Wednesday, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
Ankle and calf injuries, respectively, will sideline Bernard and Wells for at least four weeks. Wells’ ailment is not believed to be season-ending, per ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine (on Twitter), but the backup tackle will be shut down for a while.
Wells started in place of injured left tackle Donovan Smith in Week 2, but the ninth-year veteran went down during the Bucs’ win over the Saints. Following Wells’ exit, the Bucs turned to third-year UDFA Brandon Walton, who had spent last season on the team’s practice squad. A Florida Atlantic alum, Walton has only dressed for two NFL games. Sunday marked his first regular-season snaps on offense.
Wells joins center Ryan Jensen and guard Aaron Stinnie on IR. Smith, who missed Week 2 with an elbow injury, remains on the team’s active roster. Smith being unable to go in Week 3 against the Packers would mark yet another new starter for a Bucs offensive line that continues to absorb injury blows. Wells, 31, has been with the Bucs as a backup O-lineman since 2019.
Although the Bucs re-signed Bernard this offseason, the veteran running back has not been used on offense through two games. Leonard Fournette and rookie Rachaad White have played in front of Bernard, whom the Bucs signed as a possible passing-down option last year. Bernard caught 23 passes for just 123 yards last season. At 30, the former Bengals running back has seen time on special teams in his second Bucs slate.
Tampa Bay promoted linebacker Kenny Young and wide receiver Kaylon Geiger to its 53-man roster to replace Bernard and Wells, Stroud adds (via Twitter). The team also added offensive lineman Justin Skule to its practice squad. Skule spent the past three years with the 49ers. While he missed the 2021 season with an ACL tear, Skule started 12 games between the 2019 and ’20 seasons. The Vanderbilt product served as Joe Staley‘s primary replacement during the latter’s 2019 finale.
Wells has served as a key backup lineman in his three seasons in Tampa Bay. He participated in the team’s 2020 Super Bowl run, starting one game and playing in 15, not including his appearances in all four playoff games. Wells, 31, has operated in this capacity for most of his career. The former UDFA has topped out at five starts two times, doing so with the Jaguars in 2018 and for the Buccaneers last year. Wells has earned eight total starts and appeared in 45 games over his first three seasons in Tampa.
With Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs returning to bookend the Bucs’ offensive line, Wells is a depth signing that secures Tampa’s first man off the bench should anything happen with Smith and Wirfs. He also provides a familiar face as the team seeks to replace both guard spots. Alex Cappa departed in free agency to sign with the Bengals and Ali Marpet retired at the ripe old age of 28. Tampa brought in former BengalFred Johnson and acquired Shaq Masonin a trade with the Patriots in an attempt to fill those spots, but retaining Wells gives them some room for error as they attempt to replace the production from last year.
Wells joins returning starting center Ryan Jensen as the Buccaneers are trying to put together another Super Bowl squad for Tom Brady. He is sure to continue playing a key role as the offensive line’s sixth man with a chance to earn a starting spot protecting the NFL’s oldest active player.
While the Buccaneers and 49ers both won on Sunday, they each suffered major injuries in the process. For the 49ers, defensive stars Nick Bosaand Fred Warner both exited the game early; for the Bucs meanwhile, offensive linemen Tristan Wirfs, Ryan Jensenand Josh Wells are all banged up.
According to Eric Brach of the San Francisco Chronicle, the status for both Bosa and Warner are “up in the air”. Bosa had to leave the game with a concussion suffered in the second quarter, while Warner exited due to an ankle injury in the fourth. In the latter’s case, there is some reason for optimism, though. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said that Warner’s injury is “similar to what he did earlier in the year”, referring to another ankle injury sustained in Week 12 against the Vikings, which resulted in his only missed game of the season. Shanahan added, “I think he’s got a chance” to play on Saturday against the Packers. In his first regular season since signing a record-breaking extension, Warner totalled 137 tackles, four pass deflections and a forced fumble, adding five stops against the Cowboys. The 25-year-old tweeted an encouraging update, saying, “sorry for the scare yesterday everyone… we’ll be good to go”.
For Bosa, on the other hand, a return to the field would be less likely. After colliding with teammate D.J. Jones, his head snapped back, and caused him to lay on the field for a matter of minutes. He was initially taken to the medial tent, but spent the remainder of the first half in the locker room and remained there past the beginning of the third quarter. The fact that the 49ers are on a short week doesn’t help his chances of clearing the league’s concussion protocol. In less than one half of action against Dallas, the two-time Pro Bowler recorded three tackles and a half-sack, after totalling 15.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 17 regular season games. His absence against Aaron Rodgersand the Packers’ offense would be massive.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers will likely have to wait most of the week to see how healthy their offensive line will be. Head coach Bruce Arians stated that Wirfs, the team’s All-Pro right tackle, suffered a sprained ankle and will be in a walking boot throughout the week, according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine. Arians said “there’s a chance” Wirfs will be able to play, but that Laine adds “it will likely come down to the wire”. If the 2020 13th overall pick were to miss the Bucs’ next game, it would be the first of his young career. As for Jensen, the Pro Bowl center, an ankle sprain didn’t cause him to miss any snaps in the game, but Arians said he “will probably go all the way until Friday before we know anything true”. Jensen hasn’t missed a game in his four years in Tampa Bay.
Lastly, Wells, who took over for Wirfs at right tackle, suffered a quad injury. Like the others, Arians admitted the team will “have to wait and see” if he’ll be available on Sunday. Arians is understandably concerned about the offensive line’s current health situation, regardless of their next opponent. The Bucs will need to deal with either a defensive front featuring Chandler Jonesand J.J. Wattif the Cardinals win tonight, or one featuring Aaron Donald and Von Millerin the event the Rams win.