New York has been focusing extensively on tight ends in the past few days, as the club first claimed former Giant Will Tye off waivers before working out free agent Tim Wright, formerly of the Lions. Escobar, 26, never lived up his to second-round draft status, as he managed only 30 receptions and 333 yards over four seasons with the Cowboys. He inked a minimum salary benefit contract with the Chiefs in March, but was part of the club’s final cutdowns on Saturday.
Like Escobar, Thompson was cut over the weekend, as the Broncos handed him his walking papers after three seasons. The 25-year-old Thompson has never been much of an offensive contributor, and he rushed the ball a career-low eight times in 2016. The Jets have a pair of veterans leading their running back depth chart in Matt Forte and Bilal Powell, while rookie Elijah McGuire brings up the rear.
Reid, 29, is perhaps the best fit for the Jets’ current roster, as Gang Green is fielding one of the league’s worst offensive lines. Released by the Chiefs at the tail end of August, Reid has experience at both tackle and guard and 61 career appearances (18 starts) under his belt.
Thompson, 25, has been part of Denver’s roster for three seasons, but has seen his offensive contributions dip in each campaign. He ran the ball just eight times last season, managing 26 total yards and one score. All told, Thompson put up 4.3 yards per carry on 80 touches with the Broncos.
Over the Broncos’ first seven games, Anderson easily led the team in carries (110), ground yards (437) and rushing touchdowns (four). He also added 16 catches and another score. Anderson tore his right meniscus in the first quarter of the Broncos’ win over the Texans on Monday and underwent surgery Thursday.
With Anderson down, rookie Devontae Booker will take over as the Broncos’ go-to rusher. The fourth-rounder from Utah is the only back other than Anderson on Denver’s roster who has accrued double-digit carries this year. Booker has averaged an impressive 4.8 yards per attempt and found the end zone once on 51 carries. That score came versus the Texans, against whom Booker notched career highs in carries (17) and yards (83).
September 4th, 2016 at 6:42pm CST by Dallas Robinson
Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC West teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, and Chargers are noted below.
Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.
Here are Sunday’s AFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:
Thompson, an undrafted free agent, clawed his way on to the 53-man roster in each of the last two season. Unfortunately, he was not able to make the final cut this year thanks to the numbers crunch in the backfield and his lingering injuries. In 2014, the Duke product ran for 272 yards off of 54 carries with three rushing touchdowns. He also added four catches for 25 yards. Last season, Thompson appeared in 15 regular season games but carried the ball only 18 times for 48 yards while adding six catches for 51 yards. Andy Janovich will likely serve as Denver’s fullback with Thompson gone.
Peko got the highest bonus of any undrafted rookie free agent this year so it is a mild surprise to see him cut. The defensive tackle and other players on today’s cut list should find their way to Denver’s taxi squad.
It’s Saturday, and that means the NFL’s various beat reporters are opening their mailbags and answering questions from the readers. Let’s take a look at some of the notable responses out of the AFC…
Bills coach RexRyan and his staff are “operating under the premise that they have to “get it right” this year,” writes Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News. While the writer wouldn’t definitively say if Ryan could end up on the hot seat, he did note that fans have started to recognize the weaknesses in his coaching style, allowing them to question whether he’s actually “the right man for the job.” With a lack of a coach’s salary cap and with more money to use, Carucci does acknowledge that NFL owners are justified in having a quick “trigger finger,” which might not bode well for Ryan.
Bills undrafted free agent Glenn Gronkowski isn’t necessarily competing for a tight end spot, notes Carucci. Instead, Ryan has been using him as more of a fullback, so Rob Gronkowski‘s brother would need to unseat Jerome Felton in order to make the roster.
The Broncos are trying to extend wideout Emmanuel Sanders, but Klis says it won’t be easy. If the 29-year-old wants to be paid like a top receiver (similar to Jeremy Maclin‘s $11MM annual salary), the Broncos may be priced out of the negotiations.
While a Darrelle Revis-type one-year (plus an option) contract would seemingly make sense for the Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick, ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini outlines a number of reasons why this scenario probably wouldn’t work. Notably, the Jets apparent leverage would be greatly diminished if Fitzpatrick had an opportunity to test the market again next offseason.
This offseason has been one to forget for Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who has spent time in rehab and seen his future in Cleveland come into question since his rookie year ended. The latest blow comes from one of the Browns’ most respected players, offensive tackle Joe Thomas. The eight-time Pro Bowler said that Manziel “lost a lot of trust last year by the way he handled himself,” according to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com (via Twitter).
With the hiring of Gary Kubiak as their head coach, the Broncos’ offense will feature a fullback for the first time since 2012, writes Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. “My thing is that to be really effective in the running game, you have to run the fullback,” said general manager John Elway, per Renck. “We will have people in the fullback position.” As of now, the leading candidates for the job are Juwan Thompson and Joe Don Duncan.
The Dallas Morning News’ Bob Sturm profiled Utah defensive back Eric Rowe. Sturm sees Rowe a potential fit for the Cowboys in the upcoming draft, possibly as early as the first round. The Cowboys hold the 27th overall pick.
The Colts, Buccaneers, Packers and 49ers are the only four teams in the league with fewer than three quarterbacks, according to Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk. The Bucs are the sole member of the group without an established starter, which is likely to change in the draft. Tampa has the No. 1 overall pick, with which it could select either Florida State’s Jameis Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. The other three squads are also candidates to draft QBs, albeit not in the first round.
The preseason has reached its unofficial halfway point, and teams must trim their rosters to 75 players in just over a week from now. As position competitions continue to smolder and as bubble players strive to prove themselves in preseason contests, let’s take a look at some notes from around the league:
Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean offers some lessons learned from the Titans‘ second preseason game against the Saints. He notes that Travis Coons‘ accuracy has made the kicking competition with Maikon Bonani much more interesting than anticipated, and while return specialist Marc Mariani still faces an uphill battle to make the club, his returns on Saturday night have kept him in the picture.
Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com believes the Ravens should keep starting corners Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith on the shelf until the regular season opener against the Bengals. Baltimore has been “snakebitten” at the cornerback position and Hensley believes the team’s best bet is to hope that a decent player gets released as the preseason rolls on. He writes that, if free agents like Asante Samuel and Dunta Robinson could help, they would have jobs by now.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post ranks undrafted free agent Juwan Thompson as the Broncos‘ biggest training camp surprise. Though Thompson entered camp as the No. 6 tailback on the roster, he now appears to have a legitimate shot at making the club.
Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com provides a list of which Packers bubble players helped themselves and who hurt themselves in Saturday’s preseason game against the Rams.
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe believes the Browns and Jaguars should hand the reins to Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel right away, rather than have them sit behind the players they will eventually overtake. Since Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan led their clubs to the playoffs during their rookie seasons in 2008, rookie quarterbacks have fared very well when thrown into the fire from day one. For what it’s worth, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida-Times Union tweets that Bortles will finally get reps with the first team offense on Monday and could play with the ones in the second quarter in the team’s upcoming preseason game against the Lions.