Kory Sheets

Minor Moves: Monday Evening

Our first round-up of today’s minor transactions around the NFL was starting to get a little unwieldy, so we’ll recap the rest of the afternoon and evening minor moves right here. Here’s the latest:

  • The Titans won’t tender either receiver Kris Durham or linebacker Kaelin Burnett, making both free agents, tweets Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.
  • The Ravens have tendered ERFA cornerback Rashaan Melvin at $585K, per Wilson (Twitter link). Melvin started two games for Baltimore near the end of the season.
  • The Ravens also have extended an exclusive rights tender worth $435K to long snapper Patrick Scales, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). Scales was originally signed in December, becoming Baltimore’s third snapper of the season. The man he replaced, Kevin McDermott, didn’t get an RFA tender, tweets Wilson.

Earlier updates:

  • Rather than tendering restricted free agent linebacker Mike Morgan, the Seahawks have simply signed him to a one-year contract, per Condotta (via Twitter).
  • Updating a previous note, the Seahawks actually have tendered receiver Ricardo Lockette, and have offered a contract to ERFA defensive back DeShawn Shead, as well, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter links).
  • The Jets have tendered offers to two RFAs — defensive tackle Damon Harrison received a second-round tender worth $2.356MM, while safety Jaiquawn Jarrett received the lowest tender.
  • With Ryan Mallett returning to the fold and a deal with Brian Hoyer moving closer to completion, the Texans started clearing out a crowded quarterback position today by cutting Thad Lewis, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com. Somewhat ironically, Lewis was initially added to Houston’s roster back in November to replace Mallett, who landed on injured reserve with a pectoral injury.
  • The Ravens extended an RFA tender to safety Will Hill at the low-end level, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). The $1.542MM offer ensures that Baltimore maintains the right of first refusal if Hill signs an offer sheet with another club. The Ravens also tendered ERFA defensive end Steven Means, locking him up for 2015, tweets Wilson.
  • The Seahawks have elected not to tender contracts to wide receiver Bryan Walters and offensive lineman Stephen Schilling, says Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter links). All three players could still re-sign with Seattle, but they’ll be unrestricted free agents and can negotiate with other teams too.
  • Punter Marquette King, safety Brandian Ross, and safety Larry Asante all received low-end RFA tenders from the Raiders, writes Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. Defensive back Chimdi Chekwa and running back Kory Sheets weren’t tendered, and will become UFAs tomorrow.

Raiders, Seahawks Trim Rosters To 75 Players

The Raiders have officially announced that D.J. Hayden has been placed on the PUP list, which we heard earlier this morning would happen. In addition to that move, the team also announced a series of transactions in a press release, with seven more players removed from the active roster, which now stands at 75 players. Here’s a rundown of the players no longer on Oakland’s active roster:

The Seahawks have also made seven transactions to reduce their roster to 75 players. Here’s a breakdown of Seattle’s moves, via Brian McIntyre (Twitter link):

AFC Notes: McPhee, Hurns, Amaro, Mack

Ravens outside linebacker Pernell McPhee is a player to watch in tonight’s third preseason game against the Redskins, says Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun: Healthy this year after having no surgeries this offseason — unlike previous years when he’s undergone groin and knee procedures — the Ravens’ outside linebacker has been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL this preseason with one sack and five quarterback hurries. McPhee appears to have recaptured his rookie form from 2011 when he finished second on the Ravens with six sacks.” Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jaymison Hensley points out that McPhee is in the final year of his rookie deal, meaning the Ravens should benefit from healthy, motivated player seeking a contract extension.

Here’s a roundup of more links from around the AFC:

  • T.J. Graham is the Bills’ top “bubble” player, says ESPN’s Mike Rodak: “With six receivers already considered locks for the 53-man roster, Graham might need an injury to make the cut. However, he can make a strong push for a job with another team with a good outing Saturday. Graham saw more time with the first-team offense as training camp progressed, and with Sammy Watkins not expected to play Saturday, Graham should have chances to catch passes from starting quarterback EJ Manuel. The Bills will need to make a decision on Graham shortly after Saturday’s game. Would they release him early and allow him time to catch on elsewhere? Or do they hold onto him and try to get him back on their practice squad, now that he is eligible under the NFL’s new rules?”
  • With Donald Stephenson facing a four-game suspension and Joe Mays injured, the competition for replacement snaps at right tackle and inside linebacker is something to watch in the Chiefs’ third preseason game, writes Terez Paylor in the KC Star.
  • The Broncos are in need of a punt returner following the torn ACL suffered by Jordan Norwood. Isaiah Burse will get the first chance to claim the role, according to an AP story.
  • The Jaguars used a pair of second-round picks on receivers, but undrafted free agent Allen Hurns has been the best rookie in camp, writes Hays Carlyon in the Florida Times-Union: “The question now isn’t if Hurns makes the 53-man roster. He’s a virtual lock, a difficult position for an undrafted rookie to work his way to after three games. . . Hurns has put himself in position to perhaps start opposite Cecil Shorts when the Jaguars open the regular season at Philadelphia on Sept. 7.”
  • Jace Amaro is impressing Rex Ryan. Speaking about the rookie tight end, Ryan told the New York Post’s Brian Costello, “I told you guys he reminds me of [Mike] Ditka the more I see him. The kid gets better and better and better. That’s the thing you love about this guy.” Amaro had four catches and a touchdown last night against the Giants.
  • Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack looked worthy of the No. 5 overall selection last night, according to Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury-News.
  • Raiders running back Kory Sheets (Achilles) is out for the season. Sheets broke the news himself via Twitter. As a result, Latavius Murray will begin the season as the team’s primary kick returner.
  • A pair of young veterans — Dontay Moch and Orson Charles — could be candidates for the Bengals’ practice squad, speculates ESPN’s Cole Harvey, who says “coaches have grown tired of the Charles experiment and are all-in on undrafted rookie free agent Ryan Hewitt.”

AFC Notes: Jones-Drew, Blount, Collie

As new Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew restarts his career in Oakland, he won’t be handed the starting job. Jones-Drew told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle that it’s a “wide-open” competition at running back (Twitter link), presumably between himself and incumbent Darren McFadden, who was re-signed to a one-year deal earlier this month.

Neither runner did much of anything in 2013, with McFadden rushing for 379 yards in 10 games, while Jones-Drew totaled 803 yards rushing in 15 games, averaging 3.4 yards per carry, just 0.1 yards better than McFadden. Behind McFadden and MJD are Latavius Murray, Kory Sheets and Jeremy Stewart, none of whom have starting experience.

Jones-Drew said on his conference call today that he’s looking forward to playing for an organization that he has loved since he was a little kid, and that he feels he was done wrong by the Jaguars (Twitter links).

Catch more AFC notes in the links below:

  • The Patriots were interested in re-signing running back LeGarrette Blount, but only for one year, reports Boston Globe writer Ben Volin (via Twitter). Blount ended up signing a two-year deal with the Steelers worth $3.85MM.
  • Looking to add weapons to a somewhat depleted receiving corps, Boston Herald beat reporter Jeff Howe tweets that the Patriots could re-sign Austin Collie and add a “Miles Austin-type” in the future.
  • The Texans are still almost $9MM under the salary cap after signing safety Chris Clemons to a two-year deal worth $2.7MM, reports John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).

AFC Notes: Raiders, Patriots, Mathews

Although the Raiders recently signed CFL Grey Cup MVP Kory Sheets, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com sees that as only part of the running back picture in 2014. While he writes that Sheets will be hungry to prove he belongs, Gutierrez believes the competition will be a three horse race. He sees the team re-signing Rashad Jennings to be the frontrunner, but that the organization is very high on second year player Latavius Murray. Darren McFadden is not expected to return. Here are some other notes from around the AFC:

  • Gutierrez outlines his ideal offseason for the Raiders, a franchise with over $60.7MM in cap space according to OverTheCap.com. His wish list includes Alex Mack at center, Mark Sanchez at quarterback, and receiver Sammy Watkins of Clemson with the team’s first round pick. He also wants the team to retain Lamarr Houston to be their left end and sign Jared Allen to rush the passer from the other side.
  • The Patriots‘ pass rush wasn’t great in 2013, and Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald has a plan to improve that this offseason. It will take a few cuts and a restructuring of Vince Wilfork‘s contract that will pay him $11.6MM next season, but with free agents such as Allen and Shaun Phillips, and a draft deep with passrushing talent, Howe can see the Patriots being better in 2014.
  • Ryan Mathews is coming off a career year for the Chargers, but the team’s former superstar runningback has advice for Mathews. In an interview with Michael Gehlken of UT San Diego, LaDanian Tomlinson“My advice to Ryan would be just to ball out like he did this past season, and everything will take care of itself. You go to everything in the offseason. You prove your worth to the team by being there, not by being absent.” Chargers fans would be happy if Mathews is able to adhere to the advice of his predecessor. “Do your business on the field, and everything takes care of itself.” 

Raiders Sign Kory Sheets

Two and a half months after being named the MVP of the CFL’s 2013 Grey Cup, running back Kory Sheets is heading south. The former Saskatchewan Rough Riders back has signed with the Raiders, according to Brian McIntyre (via Twitter). Sheets had worked out for the Raiders last month.

In two seasons with Saskatchewan, Sheets racked up 2,875 rushing yards in a pass-heavy league, averaging 5.6 yards per rush and rushing for 23 touchdowns. The 28-year-old Purdue alum figures to have signed a reserve/futures contract, perhaps with a small guarantee included. He’ll compete for a roster spot in Oakland this summer.

Sheets has previously signed contracts with the 49ers, Dolphins, and Panthers, seeing his only NFL action in 2009 with Miami.

AFC Rumors: Manning, Ravens, Sheets, Gaine

Earlier this week, Peyton Manning attempted to dispel any rumors or speculation that he’d retire if the Broncos win the Super Bowl, telling reporters that he intended to play beyond this season. Not everyone is buying that though, according to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, who writes that many people around the NFL think Manning will call it a career after this game, especially if he wins. “The belief around football,” according to Freeman, is that Peyton doesn’t want to announce such a decision now because it would be a distraction heading into Sunday.

As we wait to see whether Freeman is right, or whether Manning’s career will continue into 2014, let’s round up a few other Wednesday notes from around the AFC….

  • The Ravens tried out a pair of free agents this week, auditioning linebacker Craig Wilkins and defensive end Cordarro Law, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Law spent last season with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, recording 14 sackes, while Wilkins was cut in the summer by the Seahawks after spending training camp with the team.
  • Wilson also reports (via Twitter) that running back Kory Sheets worked out for the Raiders this week. The Regina Leader-Post first had the details on the 2013 CFL Grey Cup MVP’s audition with Oakland.
  • Eric Decker will be a free agent this winter, and could interest the Jets as New York pursues receiving help. However, Decker said on Media Day in Newark that he hadn’t thought about the possibility of playing with the local team, writes Brian Costello of the New York Post.
  • The Dolphins announced today that they’ve mutually parted ways with assistant GM Brian Gaine (Twitter link). Gaine had been a finalist to become Miami’s new GM, so when the team hired Dennis Hickey instead, Gaine’s departure was considered somewhat inevitable.
  • Craig Kelley and Kevin Bowen of Colts.com look ahead to the Colts‘ offseason, with Kelley answering fans’ questions in a two-part mailbag, while Bowen focuses on question marks surrounding the club’s receivers, tight ends, and offensive line.