Keith Smith

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/23/23

Saturday’s gameday elevations and other minor moves around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys 

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

The Bills will not have depth running back Ty Johnson available for tonight’s game, leading to the decision to elevate Fournette. The former Super Bowl champion will thus make his Buffalo debut, although with lead back James Cook in the lineup, Fournette will likely not receive many looks on offense. The latter has already returned a kickoff for the first time in his career, however.

Signed to the Dolphins’ practice squad last week, Ingram will also make his 2023 debut in Week 16. The 34-year-old last played during his Miami stint in 2022, during which time he started three games and recorded six sacks. With Jaelan Phillips out for the year, Ingram will look to once again give the Dolphins a rotational presence off the edge.

Falcons FB Keith Smith Arrested

Falcons fullback Keith Smith is currently dealing with a legal issue and has been arrested in Atlanta today, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The arrest is linked to a previous driving incident and appears to be the result of a miscommunication.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Smith had previously received a speeding ticket earlier this year. Smith informed the team of the infraction and paid the ticket, believing that to be the end of things.

Smith’s agent, AJ Vaynerchuk, claims that there was a miscommunication with the resolution of the ticket, and though they both thought the situation had been dealt with, Smith’s driver license had been unknowingly suspended. When Smith was pulled over today for an expired registration, the officer saw that his license had been suspended, resulting in Smith’s arrest.

The situation seems to be fairly straightforward. Whether it’s determined that Smith was, in fact, in the dark or that he knowingly drove with a suspended license, his NFL status will likely only be affected by his legal status.

Falcons To Re-Sign P Bradley Pinion, FB Keith Smith

The Falcons have re-signed a pair of key special teamers. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that Atlanta has re-signed punter Bradley Pinion. Meanwhile, Aaron Wilson of reports (on Twitter) that the Falcons have re-signed fullback Keith Smith.

Pinion is inking a three-year pact worth $8.65MM, putting him in the top-eight of the highest-paid punters. The deal includes $4.325MM in guaranteed money, with Pinion taking home $3.5MM of that guaranteed money in 2023.

Pinion was the only punter selected during the 2015 draft, going in the fifth round to the 49ers. He spent four years in San Francisco before a three-year stint with the Buccaneers that saw him earn a Super Bowl ring. He spent this past season with the Falcons, where he recorded a career-high 45.9 average yards per punt.

Smith has spent the past four seasons in Atlanta, collecting four tackles while appearing in more than 1,000 special teams snaps. Smith has also had a minor role as a blocker on offense, and he’s even had some brief cameos in the receiving game. In four years with the Falcons, the 30-year-old has collected 22 receptions.

Contract Details: Trevathan, Slater, Smith

A bunch of teams have been locking up their own impending free agents with contract extensions before the new league year opens, and now we have the financial details we were missing on some of those deals. Linebacker Danny Trevathan signed a new three-year contract with the Bears, and he got a nice payday. The pact has a base value of $21.75MM that can grow to $24MM if he hits some incentives, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter video link).

He’s getting $14MM in guaranteed money, essentially meaning the first two years of the deal are mostly guaranteed. Rapoport also reports that the extension was a “priority” for them, and confirms this likely means the Bears will be letting fellow linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski walk in free agency, something we heard earlier this weekend. Trevathan is a full-time starter when healthy, but he has missed 18 games across his four years with Chicago.

Here’s the latest on the new salaries:

  • Special teams ace and locker room leader Matthew Slater signed a new two-year deal with the Patriots on Friday, and now we have his terms. He’s getting $5.3MM over the two years, Albert Breer of tweets. He’ll have base salaries of $1.6MM in 2020 and $1.75MM in 2021, with the rest coming in the form of roster and per-game bonuses. That’s a pretty impressive figure for a player who only contributes on special teams these days. Of course, Slater’s importance to the team goes well beyond his on-field contributions, as he is a team captain and staple of Bill Belichick’s program. He’s also made the Pro Bowl eight times.
  • Speaking of guys playing unheralded positions getting paid, Falcons fullback Keith Smith also signed an extension yesterday. His new three-year contract will pay him a solid $4.3MM, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). The San Jose State product, who was in his first year with Atlanta in 2019, will get $1.95MM in guaranteed money. Smith played about 17 percent of the offensive snaps last year as a lead-blocker, while also contributing heavily on special teams.

Falcons, FB Keith Smith Agree To Extension

The Falcons took care of one of their free agents Saturday, reaching an extension agreement with fullback Keith Smith. The team announced the parties agreed on a three-year contract.

Cut by the Raiders after training camp, Smith latched on with the Falcons just before the 2019 regular season. He played 198 offensive snaps with Atlanta — the sixth-most among fullbacks last season — and is now locked up through the 2022 season.

The soon-to-be 28-year-old blocking back has played six NFL seasons. He spent four seasons with the Cowboys and one with the Raiders. Smith’s 2020 base salary will likely be determined by the players’ decision on the CBA, which is due at 10:59pm CT Saturday. If the agreement is ratified, minimum-salary players will receive an approximate $100K salary spike.

Devonta Freeman is not a lock to return as the team’s backfield centerpiece, but Smith is set to reprise his role as the team’s blocking back. It is not yet certain who will be the beneficiaries of Smith blocks, however.

Falcons To Sign Keith Smith

The Falcons have signed former Raiders fullback Keith Smith to a one-year deal, as Ian Rapoport of tweets. Smith was a surprise cut over the weekend but the Falcons were more than happy to scoop him up.

Smith, 27, was non-tendered by the Cowboys in 2018 and the Falcons were among the teams to show early interest. They missed out that March when he joined the Raiders, but they got their man just in time for the start of the 2019 campaign. Before the release, Smith was set to play out the backend of a two-year, $4.2MM deal with Oakland.

The Cowboys only used Smith on 12% of their snaps in 2017, but former Dallas special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia utilized him on more than 15% of the club’s offensive plays. In Atlanta, that number could climb even higher.

Raiders Get Down To 53 Players

The Raiders have made their slew of cuts. They placed defensive tackle Justin Ellis on injured reserve, meaning he’ll miss the entire season. After starting 14 games in 2017, Oakland signed Ellis to a three-year, $15MM extension. Injuries limited him to just six games last season, so he’ll have barely played through the first two years of that extension.

Former Rams defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks also got the boot. He started nine games for Los Angeles in 2017 and racked up four sacks. Last year he had a smaller role, although he did appear in all 16 games for the Rams. ‘Hard Knocks’ star Keelan Doss unfortunately failed to make the roster. He’s an undrafted rookie receiver from UC Davis. Additionally Keith Smith, who served as the team’s fullback last season, was released.


WR Marcell Ateman
DE Quinton Bell
RB James Butler
LB Jason Cabinda
LB Te’von Coney
G Lester Cotton Sr.
WR Keelan Doss
LB Koa Farmer
WR Rico Gafford
WR Keon Hatcher
G/T Denver Kirkland
CB Dylan Mabin
T Justin Murray
CB Nick Nelson
WR De’Mornay Pierson-El
T Tyler Roemer
DT Anthony Rush


FB Keith Smith
DE Ethan Westbrooks
LB Kyle Wilber


TE Paul Butler

Placed on season-ending injured reserve:

DT Justin Ellis

AFC West Notes: Chargers, Gates, Chiefs, Hill

The Chargers have had private talks with Antonio Gates about his status, GM Tom Telesco tells reporters (Twitter link via Eric D. Williams of Williams’ read on the comments is that Gates will not be back, which makes sense since we have not heard much about the 39-year-old in recent months.

The Chargers brought Gates back for a 16th season after losing Hunter Henry to a season-ending injury, but they no longer have a dire need for tight end help. Barring something unforeseen, it sounds like they’ll finally move on from the eight-time Pro Bowler.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • There are ways the Chiefs could protect themselves in a potential new Tyreek Hill deal, Joel Corry of writes. The Chiefs usually favor deals with substantial signing bonuses, but in this case, they could follow the 49ers’ team-friendly blueprint of bonuses that are metered out at specific dates. For example, they could advance the dates for injury guarantees, pack much of the compensation into annual per-game active roster bonuses, and broad language to shield against future incidents.
  • Raiders fullback Keith Smith suffered a knee injury while training and will be out a few weeks to begin training camp, Ian Rapoport of tweets. It’s possible they’ll sign another fullback as he recovers and Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal (on Twitter) suggests that rookie Alec Ingold may push for a 53-man roster spot in his absence. Smith is due a $1.4MM salary in 2019 while Ingold is slated for just $495K.
  • The Broncos ended their kicking competition this week while opening up a punting battle.

Raiders To Sign FB Keith Smith

Jon Gruden vowed to restore the importance of the fullback position and he took a major step towards that endeavor on Thursday. The Raiders and fullback Keith Smith have agreed to terms on a two-year worth $4.2MM, Ian Rapoport of tweets

Smith, 26 in April, was non-tendered by the Cowboys this week. He quickly drew interest on the open market, not just from the Raiders, but the Falcons as well.

Smith is undoubtedly happy about the way things turned out. Had he been tendered by Dallas, he would have made just $1.908MM in 2018.

The Cowboys only used Smith on 12% of their snaps last season, but he could be in for an uptick in playing time with the Raiders, particularly since former Dallas special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia is in Oakland.

It remains to be seen exactly who he’ll be doing the lead blocking for, however. The Raiders inked Doug Martin to a one-year deal on Thursday and Marshawn Lynch‘s status remains murky.

Cowboys Won’t Tender RFA FB Keith Smith; Falcons Have Interest

The Cowboys will not tender an offer to restricted free agent fullback Keith Smith, but they are open to re-signing him on a multi-year extension, according to Todd Archer of However, the Falcons also have interest in signing Smith to a free agent deal, reports D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.Keith Smith (Vertical)

An original round RFA tender — which wouldn’t have netted Dallas any draft pick compensation had Smith inked an offer sheet with another club — is expected to be worth $1.908MM. Smith only played on 12% of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps in 2017, so that figure was untenable. But a multi-year deal could offer Smith financial guarantees (which the RFA tender does not) and keep his 2018 cap charge to a minimum, aiding Dallas’ books.

As Archer details, the Cowboys have used a similar strategy with restricted free agents in the recent past. In 2016, Dallas tendered safety Jeff Heath at the original round level, but subsequently replaced that one-year salary with a four-year, $7.671MM extension. The year prior, punter Chris Jones had already signed his RFA tender when Dallas worked out a three-year, $4.2MM deal.

Smith, for his part, appeared in all 16 games for the second consecutive season, but wasn’t a large part of the Cowboys offense, as he totaled only five total touches (all receptions). However, the 25-year-old Smith was a key factor on Dallas’ special teams unit: he finished sixth in Cowboys special teams snaps, and ranked second on the club with 10 ST tackles.

The Falcons, meanwhile, have ranked among the top-five NFL teams in fullback usage in each of the past two seasons. Patrick DiMarco played 31% of Atlanta’s offensive snaps in 2016 before signing with the Bills the following offseason, while Derrick Coleman saw time on roughly 22% of the team’s plays last year.