KaVontae Turpin

Cowboys Rumors: LG, Elliott, Turpin

The Cowboys fielded a revolving door at left guard last year and, for now, it looks like it may continue revolving through the summer. According to Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News, Dallas is looking into multiple possibilities to replace Connor McGovern, who departed for Buffalo in free agency back in March.

The favorite to man the newly open starting spot is Tyler Smith, who manned the position at times last season when he wasn’t at left tackle. With Tyron Smith back to healthy, Tyler can shift inside for good this season. The younger Smith embraced the opportunity to work at guard recently, asserting that being elite at both positions will ultimately help the team the most.

The Cowboys haven’t limited the versatility training to Smith. Gehlken reports that multiple other linemen have received time at both guard and tackle this offseason. Matt Farniok, who has worked mostly at interior line positions so far in Dallas, has been working outside. Chuma Edoga has worked at right tackle and left guard, as well. Even second-year lineman Matt Waletzko was approached by offensive line coach Mike Solari to work at guard for the first time in his life.

As of right now, it looks to be a starting lineup of Tyron Smith at left tackle, Tyler Smith at left guard, Tyler Biadasz at center, Zack Martin at right guard, and Terence Steele at right tackle. With Steele still coming back from a late season-ending ACL and MCL tear, many in the building would like to see Tyler Smith continue to develop at tackle. In the meantime, it seems that Dallas is keeping its options open for both positions.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of Arlington:

  • Rookie second-round tight end out of Michigan Luke Schoonmaker has been dealing with a plantar fascia issue, reportedly wearing a walking boot on his right foot last week. According to Jon Machota of The Athletic, Schoonmaker was out of the boot this week but was still limited to just sideline work. The injury isn’t considered serious, as he’s expected to be ready for the start of training camp, according to head coach Mike McCarthy.
  • Owner, president, and general manager Jerry Jones continues to leave the door open for a reunion with veteran running back Ezekiel Elliott, according to Machota. His son, and team CEO, Stephen Jones says that the team is looking into adding a bigger back. They signed fullback Hunter Luepke undrafted out of North Dakota State and signed the stout Ronald Jones in free agency, but Elliott could always find his way back to Dallas despite both parties continuing to explore their options.
  • Lastly, another report from Machota claims confidence that wide receiver and return specialist KaVontae Turpin should find a spot on the Cowboys’ eventual 53-man roster. While rookie running back Deuce Vaughn and Malik Davis got some opportunities to handle return duties in recent weeks, Turpin is a much more explosive and proven option. It also doesn’t hurt that Turpin has been getting some serious run with the second-team wide receiver group.

NFC WR Notes: Isabella, Turpin, Doubs, Turner

Andy Isabella came to the Cardinals in 2019 with plenty of expectations. The 2019 second-rounder has yet to live up to his potential, though, which has led to his name being involved in plenty of trade speculation.

Arizona was shopping the 25-year-old speedster in the run-up to free agency, after his first three seasons in the league resulted in just 31 catches and three touchdowns. Given that they granted Isabella permission to seek a new destination, it seemed inevitable that a swap could be coming, but nothing materialized.

Immediately after the draft – during which the Cardinals acquired Marquise Brown – the UMass alum was again available to outside teams. However, Isabella has impressed the team during training camp and preseason, and he appears to have increased his chances of finishing his rookie contract in the desert. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that he has “had as good a camp as just about anyone,” which should strengthen his grip on a roster spot. Aside from Brown, the Cardinals also have DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore and A.J. Green ahead of Isabella on the depth chart, but he could be in line for a career-year in 2022.

Here are some other WR notes from around the NFC:

  • The Cowboys took a flier on the USFL’s leading receiver, KaVontae Turpin, late last month. After the TCU alum enjoyed a two-touchdown preseason contest against the Chargers in the return game, HC Mike McCarthy was asked about whether or not Turpin would handle the team’s kick return duties come Week 1. “I think there is a great chance he will be returning kicks against Tampa Bay,” he responded (Twitter link via Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram) – a rather ringing endorsement of the five-foot-nine, 153-pounder looking to turn his spring success into a full-time NFL role.
  • Aaron Rodgers was publicly critical of the young receivers the Packers are incorporating into their offense last week, but one of them has established a noteworthy rapport with the reigning MVP. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer notes that Romeo Doubs has “really” earned Rodgers’ trust this summer, something which could pay dividends for Green Bay’s offense. The Nevada product put up back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns to finish his college career, and has seen first-team reps in training camp. He could be in line for a productive rookie season in a WR corps featuring plenty of unknowns.
  • 49ers wideout Malik Turner received a fine of $5,750 for unsportsmanlike conduct during the team’s preseason win over the Vikings, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets. The 26-year-old split his first four seasons evenly between the Seahawks and Cowboys, playing primarily on special teams. He is likely to have a similar role in San Francisco, though the league’s discipline won’t help his impressions with the team in the build-up to the season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/28/22

Today’s minor NFL transactions:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

USFL Notes: Standouts, Rosters, Locations

The inaugural season of the 2022 iteration of the United States Football League is set to conclude Sunday night, as the Birmingham Stallions and Philadelphia Stars compete for the league’s first championship. NBC Sports’ Paul Burmeister provided a breakdown of the league’s first season of existence this week touching on several points with a few being relevant to the NFL. 

Burmeister made a point to mention a number of standout players for the USFL’s opening year:

  • LB Frank Ginda, Michigan Panthers. Ginda spent time on practice squads for the Cardinals, Dolphins, and Saints, taking time in between to participate in the short-lived Alliance of American Football and XFL 2.0. Ginda finished second in the USFL in tackles and came to the league to improve his abilities in pass coverage with playing experience.
  • RB Reggie Corbin, Michigan Panthers. Corbin’s head coach, Jeff Fisher, said himself that Corbin should be in the NFL. After four years at Illinois, Corbin got a workout for the Seahawks after college but tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival and was sent home before he could work out. He helped the Panthers lead the league in rushing yards per game this year.
  • LB Donald Payne, Houston Gamblers. Payne spent four years in the NFL, mainly as a core special-teamer in Jacksonville. The one player in the league with more tackles than Ginda, and the only player in the league with over 100 tackles, Payne made it clear that he isn’t aiming just to get another NFL opportunity, he’s aiming to make another NFL 53-man roster.
  • WR KaVontae Turpin, New Jersey Generals. Despite being on a team that ran the ball more than any other team in the USFL, Turpin led the league in receiving yards. He’s agile and tough with great top-end speed. His ability to shed tackles helped him excel as a return man this season. Turpin could easily find his way to the NFL with his receiving prowess and return abilities.
  • DE Chris Odom, Houston Gamblers. Odom spent time in the NFL playing for Atlanta, Green Bay, and Washington. Known more for stopping the run with his hand in the dirt, Odom took after ex-teammates Clay Matthews and Nick Perry and led the USFL in sacks and forced fumbles. He has NFL experience and proved that he can dominate the lower levels of professional football.

Here are a few other points that Burmeister touched on in his season breakdown:

  • When asked what comes next for the league, Burmeister brought up roster sizes. The initial roster rules allowed teams to have a total roster of 45 players with 38 active on gameday. Concerns over issues with in-game and practice injuries led the league to expand rosters to 50 total players with 40 allowed to be active on gamedays. That initial increase is likely just the beginning. With many teams hesitant to go full-contact in practices, in fear that they could suffer injuries that would diminish their already minuscule roster, more players would allow for more extensive practice sessions that could lead to an overall increase in quality of play.
  • Another factor Burmeister mentioned for what could be in store for the USFL’s future was locale. The league played all their games at one team’s home stadium in Birmingham, Ala. While Birmingham provided a great home-field advantage for the Stallions, attendance at games that didn’t include the hometown team was severely lacking. Noticing the drastic improvement of gameday action for Stallions’ games, the league has made plans to share the love. While not yet ready to give each team a home stadium and organize the travel necessary for such a scenario, the league has entertained the idea of providing one of the teams in their North Division the same advantage that Birmingham enjoyed. The four teams in the North Division that could potentially play host next season are the Michigan Panthers, the New Jersey Generals, the Philadelphia Stars, and the Pittsburgh Maulers.

Draft Notes: Titans, Lions, Texans

Some assorted draft notes from around the NFL…

  • Sam Houston State pass rusher Derick Roberson had a private workout with Titans head coach Mike Vrabel and general manager Jon Robinson, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The six-foot-four, 250-pound lineman had a standout season in 2018, finishing with 15 sacks, five forced fumbles, and 20.5 tackles for loss. Lions linebackers coach Al Golden previously met with Roberson during his Pro Day. The pass rusher is expected to be selected on Day 2 of the draft.
  • Toledo cornerback Ka’dar Hollman also had a private workout with the Texans, reports Wilson. The defensive back has also had visits and workouts with the Dolphins, Saints, Bears, Colts, Eagles, Lions and Browns. While Hollman has boosted his draft stock following a strong Pro Day, he’s still at best a sixth- or seventh-rounder.
  • TCU wideout KaVontae Turpin‘s Pro Day was attended by the Cowboys, Redskins, Seahawks, and Raiders, reports Wilson (via Twitter). The talented offensive weapon had at least 29 receptions in each of his four collegiate seasons, and he also showed some talent in the return game. Turpin is expected to be a late-round pick or an undrafted free agent.