In Chicago, Davis will reunite with Matt Nagy, the Bears’ new head coach who served as the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach during Davis’ first three seasons in Kansas City (the Chiefs selected Davis, an Arkansas product, in the third round of the 2013 draft). The Chiefs elevated Nagy to offensive coordinator in 2016, and they traded Davis to the Packers for a conditional draft pick in October of that year. Green Bay released him just two weeks later, and Davis re-signed with Kansas City shortly thereafter.
Davis was reasonably effective during his first two years in the league, rushing for 705 yards and 10 touchdowns as a change-of-pace back. He also ran back a kickoff for a touchdown in 2013 and 2014, and even though his workload as a running back was dramatically reduced in 2015, he still returned 29 kicks.
However, he was released by the Steelers before the start of the 2017 campaign, and he was not picked up by any other club (though he did work out for the Jets last September). As Williams notes, if Davis is to crack Chicago’s roster, he will likely have to do so on the strength of his return ability. The Bears boast a fairly crowded backfield, headlined by Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, but Davis does appear to have a fan in Nagy.
The former Chiefs third-round pick has bounced around the league a bit since he was traded to the Packers last season. He ultimately appeared in two games for Green Bay (compiling only nine total yards) before being waived. He was subsequently claimed and waived by the Jets, and he landed back with the Chiefs later in the season, making brief appearances in the run and return game. He joined the Steelers this past offseason, but he was cut by the organization in early September.
Prior to his tumultuous 2016 campaign, Davis was plenty productive. 2014 was arguably his best NFL season, as the 25-year-old finished with 463 rushing yards and 147 receiving yards for seven total touchdowns. Since then, the running back has only collected 46 carries and seven receptions. Davis has also proven to be a weapon in the return game, as he’s averaged 26.8 yards and scored two touchdowns on 73 career kick returns.
Jets running backs have collected 267 yards through the first three weeks of the season, placing them in the bottom-10 of the NFL. However, it’s unlikely that Davis or Cadet would be able to displace the team’s current duo of Matt ForteandBilal Powell. Besides the two veterans, the Jets are also rostering sixth-rounder Elijah McGuire.
The 25-year-old Davis joined the Steelers in March after stints with the Chiefs and Packers from 2013-16. All but two of his 57 appearances came in Kansas City, where he totaled 800 yards on 245 carries (3.3 yards per rush). He was barely a factor last year with either Chiefs or Packers last year, picking up just 18 carries.
Steelers star RB Le’Veon Bell has yet to sign his franchise tender, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders if the club would consider rescinding the tender, just as the Panthers did with Josh Norman last year. The closer we get to training camp, the more difficult it would be for Bell land a contract on the open market that pays him even $10MM in 2017, much less the $12.1MM he stands to receive under the franchise tender, and if Pittsburgh were to rescind the tender late in the summer, Bell’s financial prospects would only worsen. In the meantime, the Steelers’ other backs will get ample opportunity to prove their worth, and Florio speculates that Pittsburgh could decide to save millions by severing ties with Bell if its other options could combine to approximate Bell’s production.
But given that the rest of the Steelers’ RB corps features the likes of Knile Davis, Fitzgerald Toussaint, and rookie James Conner, that notion seems almost laughable. Even if the Steelers were considering rescinding the tender, it’s not surprising that there have been no reports about it, as such decisions are made and executed swiftly to avoid the possibility that the player will catch wind of it and pounce on the tender. Nonetheless, if Bell is not lined up behind Ben Roethlisberger on Week 1 (assuming he’s not injured or suspended), it would be the surprise of the season.
Now for more from the AFC:
Speaking of Davis, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that the Arkansas product, whom the Steelers signed as a free agent this offseason, has a good chance of landing the team’s No. 3 RB spot behind Bell and Conner. Third-string backs have been important players for Pittsburgh in recent years, and Davis’ experience returning kickoffs could give him the edge over Toussaint.
New Jets OC John Morton, unlike his predecessor, Chan Gailey, utilizes two-back sets, and the only fullbacks currently on New York’s roster are the unproven Julian Howsare and undrafted rookie Anthony Firkser. As such, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com believes the team could add a fullback like Zach Line, whom the team expressed interest in earlier this offseason, in the near future.
Darryl Slater of NJ.com says Jets QB Christian Hackenberg has shown some progress in OTAs, though he is still struggling with accuracy and turnovers. If the team can get him some game action, and if he flashes some potential, Slater believes the Jets may refrain from drafting a QB in 2018. If not, look for Gang Green to use another early selection on a signal-caller next year.
Broncos rookie QB Chad Kelly, this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, is close to getting back on the field, as Mike Klis of 9News.com writes. Kelly is coming off an injury to his right throwing wrist and his second ACL operation on his right knee, and while the Ole Miss product likely wouldn’t have been a factor in Denver’s QB competition this year anyway, he could have a legitimate chance at the job in 2018 or 2019.
Texans rookie Deante’ Gray, who signed with the club as a UDFA last month and who has a chance of cracking the back end of Houston’s WR corps, is expected to be out until training camp with a Grade 2 partially torn hamstring, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes.
Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union compares the career trajectory of Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith, who is entering his contract year, with that of Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey, who recently signed a four-year, $38MM extension with Cleveland. The two players, who were both drafted in 2014, have similar numbers through this point in their careers, so O’Halloran suggests that Kirksey’s deal will be a good foundation for a new Smith contract if the Jags are open to extending Smith before the season starts.
The Steelers are signing running back Knile Davis, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. It’ll be a one-year deal.
Davis, a longtime backup in Kansas City, found himself buried on the Chiefs depth chart last year. When he got an opportunity to get away from Jamaal Charles, Charcandrick West, and Spencer Ware, he fell flat. Davis was traded to the Packers in mid-October, but he only got five carries in two games before being waived. He was claimed by the Jets the next day, but he was cut about three hours later when the team opted to sign free agent running C.J. Spiller. Davis circled back to KC and amassed just 23 yards off of 13 carries.
Davis had some quality games in 2013 and 2014 with Kansas City, but we haven’t seen him move the needle in a while. He’ll now try to catch on as a backup for Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.
Knile Davis is back in Kansas City, as the team announced (via Twitter) that they’ve signed the veteran running back. The team also promoted defensive end David King to the active roster. To make room, the team placed offensive guard Parker Ehinger on the injured reserve and waived offensive lineman Jordan Devey.
It’s been a tumultuous two weeks for Davis. The 25-year-old was traded to the Packers in mid-October, but he only got five carries in two games before being waived last week. The running back was claimed by the Jets the next day, but he barely lasted three hours as the team opted to sign free agent running C.J. Spiller. In six games this season, Davis has compiled only three yards on six carries, and he’s added another four receptions for 18 yards. The former third-rounder had his best season in 2014, when he ran for 463 yards and six touchdowns. With Jamaal Charles out for the season and Spencer Ware sidelined with a concussion, the team will have to rely on Davis, Charcandrick West, and Bishop Sankeyto lead their running game.
King, a seventh-round pick in 2013, has eight NFL appearances under his belt. The 26-year-old has collected four tackles and 1.5 sacks, and he’ll likely compete with Kendall Reyes and Dadi Nicolas for snaps on the defensive line.
We learned earlier this week that Ehinger, a fourth-round rookie, would miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. The Cincinnati product ultimately started four games for the Chiefs. Meanwhile, Devey made one appearance for Kansas City this season. By cutting the former undrafted free agent, the Chiefs will be rolling with only Jah Reid and Bryan Witzmann as their back-up lineman.
Some assorted notes from around the NFL as we wrap up this Tuesday evening:
As expected, the Titans have placed veteran Andre Johnson on the reserve-retired list, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). The wide receiver announced his retirement earlier this week.
Dolphins safety Reshad Jones, who was recently ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn rotator cuff, told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald that he played with the injury for the past two seasons (Twitter link). The reporter notes that the team discussed surgery with Jones about a year ago, but the player opted against it. The 28-year-old estimated that it would take four months to recover from the surgery.
Wilson reports (via Twitter) that safety Taylor Mays has had his suspension lifted. The 28-year-old signed with the Bengals this offseason, but he was released after he was disciplined for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Mays made five starts for the Raiders last season, compiling 26 tackles and five passes defended.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News wouldn’t be surprised if Knile Davis landed back with the Chiefs (Twitter link). The organization placed running back Jamaal Charles on the injured reserve earlier this evening, and they signed Bishop Sankey to compete with Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. Davis, meanwhile, was cut by the Jets after having been claimed only hours before.
8:00pm: The Jets actually waived running back Troymaine Pope to originally make room for Davis, according to Mehta (via Twitter).
6:09pm: Knile Davis‘ tenure with the Jets didn’t even last three hours. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), the team is planning on releasing the running back as they finalize a deal with veteran C.J. Spiller. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News confirms (via Twitter) that the Jets will indeed by signing Spiller. Davis was claimed off waivers by the Jets earlier today.
Similar to Davis, Spiller will be joining his third team this season. The 29-year-old started the campaign with the Saints, and he was quickly signed by the Seahawks following his release by New Orleans. The former first-rounder only had three rushes for nine yards during his two-game tenure in Seattle, and he added another five catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. The Seahawks ended up cutting bait with the veteran last week.
Spiller is certainly an upgrade over Davis, as the veteran running back put up solid numbers in 2015. During his lone full-season with the Saints, Spiller rushed for 112 yards on 36 carries. He also added another 34 catches for 239 yards and two scores. Meanwhile, Davis only collected 96 offensive yards in 2015, and he’s followed that up with only 21 total yards in 2016. Rapoport tweets that the Jets had been in talks with Spiller, but they claimed Davis as insurance in case the veteran didn’t sign. Ultimately, Spiller decided to take the Jets’ offer.
The Jets already have a crowded running back corps, led by Matt Forte and Bilal Powell. Spiller will likely compete with rookie Troymaine Pope to be the team’s third-string running back. Spiller will certainly get an opportunity, as he’ll be reunited with former Bills coach ChanGailey, who is now the Jets’ offensive coordinator. Spiller’s best seasons came under Gailey, including a 2012 season where he rushed for 1,244 yards.
The Jets have claimed running back Knile Davis off waivers from the Packers, according to his agent (via Twitter).
Green Bay acquired Davis from the Chiefs earlier this month after starter Eddie Lacy and primary backup James Starks were sidelined with injuries. However, his short stay in Wisconsin ended yesterday when the Packers cut him loose. Apparently, they saw enough out of him after he amassed just five yards off of five carries for them.
Now, Davis is hoping to find better results on his third team of the year. As it stands, Davis will join Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, and Troymaine Pope on the Jets’ running back depth chart, though it’s possible that Davis’ arrival could bump Pope from the roster.