Justin Rigg

Titans Release Michael Badgley; K Joins Lions’ Practice Squad

AUGUST 30: Badgley’s whirlwind offseason will wind up taking him back to where it began. He is part of the Lions’ initial practice squad, as the team announced on Wednesday. That could give him the opportunity to reclaim his role as Detroit’s kicker if Riley Patterson falters or suffers an injury. Failing that, another chance could arise during the campaign which entices him to once again depart the Motor City.

AUGUST 27: After moving on from their other two kickers, the Titans paved the way for Michael Badgley to win their kicking job. That has not taken place, however; the team announced on Sunday that he is among their preliminary roster cuts.

Badgley enjoyed a strong finish to the season in Detroit last season, and that earned him a new deal with the Lions. He quickly found himself being released, however, which led him to Washington in a bid to beat out Joey Slye for the Commanders’ kicking gig. That did not take place, and the Titans became Badgley’s third team this offseason.

Tennessee waived Caleb Shudak and Trey Wolff in the wake of signing Badgley. That seemed to give the latter a clear opportunity to find a home to at least begin the 2023 season, but he struggled upon arrival in camp practices. The 28-year-old then converted three of four field goal attempts in the Titans’ preseason finale. Those performances were not sufficient to earn him the job, and the Titans again find themselves in the market for an addition at the position in the build-up to the season.

Given today’s move, the team does not currently have a kicker on the roster. After two seasons of Randy Bullock handling kicking duties, it thus remains unclear who will have those responsibilities when the 2023 campaign begins. Bullock – like a number of veteran kickers – remains unsigned at the moment, but interest will pick up in the near future as teams sort out their rosters.

In addition to moving on from Badgley, the Titans announced that defensive back L.J. Davis, receiver Gavin Holmes, offensive linemen Zack Johnson and James Murray, as well as tight end Justin Rigg have been waived. Many more moves will be needed in the coming days to finalize the team’s 53-man roster.

AFC South Rumors: Titans, Rader, Perryman

The tight ends room in Tennessee is going to look very different from recent years, according to Titans senior writer/editor Jim Wyatt. In addition to a new instructor, as former running backs coach Tony Dews takes over the position coaching duties, some main contributors from the past few years are no longer present.

With Austin Hooper and Geoff Swaim both hitting the free agent market this past spring, second-year tight end Chig Okonkwo has inherited a massive leading role. Okonkwo already put himself on the map as a rookie, outgaining Hooper with 450 receiving yards, good for second on the team. His three receiving touchdowns led all tight ends in Tennessee last year and were also good for second on the team. Already expected to take a step forward in 2023, he’ll receive a lot more targets with Hooper now in Las Vegas. Swaim, the team’s former primary blocking tight end, was also not re-signed, so the Titans will be looking for Okonkwo to step up as a blocker, as well.

Behind Okonkwo, the team signed Trevon Wesco, who has served as a backup tight end and special teamer for the Jets and Bears, previously. They also drafted Josh Whyle out of Cincinnati in the fifth round this year. Both should provide a bit of depth behind Okonkwo, and while Whyle was a strong redzone target for the Bearcats in college, neither tight end threatens to take many snaps away from Okonkwo.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of the AFC South:

  • The Titans have been known to respect the tight end position and are certainly a candidate to keep four on the roster. With Okonkwo, Wesco, and Whyle likely safely on the 53-man roster, who might end up snagging that last roster spot? The likeliest pick would be Kevin Rader who started two games in 14 appearances for the Titans last year. He didn’t record any offensive stats in 2022, but he was a strong special teams contributor and a solid extra blocker on the line. His competition for the potential roster spot will be former XFL player Alize Mack, Justin Rigg, whom they signed to a reserve/futures contract at the end of last season, and Thomas Odukoya, the team’s International Pathway program addition from the Netherlands.
  • After two strong years with the Raiders, veteran linebacker Denzel Perryman landed with the Texans. Only a year removed from a Pro Bowl season, it was a bit of a surprise to see his newest contract only amount to a $2.6MM base salary. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, Perryman expected a much bigger free agent market for himself before settling for his deal in Houston. The Raiders ended up replacing him with Robert Spillane, a former backup in Pittsburgh, paying Spillane with a two-year contract that has a $3.5MM average. So, why the disappointing return for Perryman? Perryman is an all-around better linebacker than Spillane, but he’s older and has missed at least five games in three of the last six years. Perryman’s new contract includes a $900K incentive based on playing time that would end up paying out $3.5MM if he can stay healthy.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/12/23

Teams continue to sign players to reserve/futures contracts, allowing the organization to retain (routinely) young, practice squad players throughout the offseason. Here are the latest reserve/futures contracts:

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

  • DB Rodney Randle

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tennessee Titans

Bengals’ Roster Down To Final 53

Cincinnati made the necessary moves today to trim its roster down to 53 players. While some may find themselves back in the striped helmet Wednesday, many will have to clear waivers before being announced to the 16-man practice squad. Here are the moves made today to get down to the 53-man roster:




Placed on reserve/PUP list:

The defending AFC champions are looking to run it back with much of the same roster as last year. Thirty-eight of this year’s 53-man roster were on last year’s Super Bowl roster, with the differences coming on offensive line and at the bottom of the depth chart.

Additionally, it appears all six 2022 draft picks made the roster for the Bengals, as well as one undrafted rookie signing. With so many starters returning from the Super Bowl team, all the rookies will be expected to contribute in backup roles. First- and second-round defensive backs Daxton Hill and Cam Taylor-Britt figure to factor heavily into the defensive rotation, though. Also in the secondary, cornerback Allan George is the lone UDFA from this year’s crop to make Cincinnati’s final roster.

To call it the final roster is a bit misleading as the Bengals will likely follow their own trends from last season, setting the roster up for multiple post-deadline moves. The roster currently includes 11 defensive backs, not including starting safety Jessie Bates, working currently on a roster exemption. Taylor-Britt could likely find his way to the four-week injured reserve list after undergoing core surgery recently. Defensive end Khalid Kareem will join Taylor-Britt on short-term IR, according to head coach Zac Taylor, with a hamstring injury.

Many expect Cincinnati to mirror a roster move from last year with wide receiver Thomas. Thomas is a vested veteran who will avoid the waiver wire and is expected to re-sign with the team after a corresponding roster move, exactly what he did last year.

Finally, two position battles have been effectively decided with the waiving of long snapper Adomitis and punter Chrisman. Both intended to challenge incumbents Clark Harris and Kevin Huber from their long-time starting jobs. After avoiding being unseated, Huber is now on track to set a franchise record for games played in a Bengals uniform. Harris is close behind, trailing Huber by just six games.

Bengals Announce 16-Man UDFA Class

After adding six rookies to the team in the NFL Draft last month, the Bengals announced the addition of 16 undrafted free agents:

Continuing their focus on addressing the offensive line, Cincinnati brought in some potential depth pieces who will have an opportunity to earn playing time for the reigning conference champions.

Brown started for three seasons after redshirting his first for the Rebels, moving from right guard to center in his last collegiate season. Cochran transferred to the Yellow Jackets after four years at Vanderbilt. Even as a newcomer, the blindside tackle was selected as Georgia Tech’s weekly-Captain for five of the team’s twelve games. Noel joined the Owls after a stint at Fort Scott Community College. He started for three years on the Owls’ offensive line, taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility provided by COVID-19.

The Bengals also added some potential contributors at receiver. Heiligh was two-yards away in 2020 from posting consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons while catching a combined 17 touchdowns in his last two years with the Chanticleers. Lassiter II improved every year for the Jayhawks, averaging 11.1 yards per reception in his redshirt senior season. Pryor provides some versatility, displaying some rushing ability for the Badgers throughout his college career in addition to his duties as a receiver. Sorenson had an impressive freshman year for the RedHawks before going relatively quiet over the next two seasons. He came back with a vengeance in his final college season, exploding for 1,406 yards and 10 touchdowns.