Krys Barnes

Cardinals’ Isaiah Simmons Requested Shift From LB Role

When the Cardinals did not exercise Isaiah Simmonsfifth-year option in May, the 2020 draftee was classified as a linebacker. That meant a $12.7MM option call for Arizona’s new regime. Passing on that guaranteed salary moved the hybrid defender into a contract year.

The Cardinals still have Simmons squarely in their plans, but they have not insisted on a position for the versatile player. Jonathan Gannon‘s staff gave the Clemson alum a choice on where to play. He has been operating as a DB for several weeks. This has come during an offseason in which fellow first-round ILB investment Zaven Collins has been given time as an edge defender.

I told them I didn’t want to play linebacker,” Simmons said, via’s Darren Urban. “I felt more comfortable getting back to things I had done in the past. If they came here and said, ‘You’re going to be a Mike linebacker,’ I would’ve done it to the best of my ability. I think they understood that maybe the designed position I was supposed to be at, and I’m happy they let me come in and lock in on one position.”

Simmons has been working at safety during training camp, with Urban adding the former No. 8 overall pick has most often been stationed as a deep defender — rather than in the slot. Last season, Simmons roved around the formation but spent the most time in the slot (45% of his snaps). The fourth-year defender’s 4.39-second 40-yard dash speed has helped him hold his own in the secondary. This will still be a transition for Simmons, who has not played a deep safety role regularly since high school.

Pro Football Focus rated Simmons as a top-40 cornerback last season. This marked a step up from the unique talent’s 2021 assessment, when linebacker was his primary role. In addition to 409 slot snaps, Simmons also played 297 snaps in the box, 110 on the defensive line and saw a bit of work as a boundary corner and as a safety last season. With Budda Baker back in the fold and Jalen Thompson also signed long term, the Cardinals are preparing three-safety looks under Gannon and DC Nick Rallis. With both Simmons and Collins at new positions, the Cardinals have UFA additions Kyzir White and Krys Barnes as the early starters at inside linebacker.

This year’s free agency classes at safety and linebacker largely struggled to cash in, save for top-market players like Tremaine Edmunds and Jessie Bates. Steep value drop-offs took place as those respective markets sorted out. Simmons, 25, will have a chance to create a market for himself. Considering the Cardinals’ safety allocations — Baker at $14.1MM per year, Thompson at $12MM AAV — Simmons sticking at safety may lead him out of Arizona. Then again, Baker made a trade request this offseason and does not have any guaranteed money on his deal for 2024.

While the three-safety alignment gives the Cardinals options in the slot, they are looking for a second cornerback opposite Marco Wilson. Rallis said (via Urban) the team is “not close” to determining its No. 2 cornerback. The Cardinals let Byron Murphy walk in free agency; he followed Patrick Peterson‘s path by joining the Vikings. A former fourth-round pick who has made 26 starts in two seasons, Wilson is a lock to be one of Arizona’s starting corners.

Arizona re-signed Antonio Hamilton, who made five starts last season, and added Rashad Fenton in free agency. Fenton’s guarantee ($1.5MM) tops Hamilton’s ($76K). Sixth-round pick Kei’Trel Clark has received first-team reps during camp, per Urban. Third-rounder Garrett Williams remains on the Cards’ active/NFI list after suffering an ACL tear during his final season at Syracuse.

Cardinals Sign LB Krys Barnes

Arizona has added a young veteran to their defense. The team announced on Saturday that they have signed linebacker Krys Barnes.

A former UDFA, Barnes spent the first three seasons of his career with the Packers. Even in his rookie campaign, he took on a notable workload, starting 10 games. His 52% snap share in 2020 was matched exactly the following year, making him a key member of Green Bay’s LB corps.

Over the course of his first two seasons, Barnes racked up 161 tackles and a pair of sacks. While his work in pass defense led to an unflattering PFF evaluation, he maintained an important role in a Packers’ second-level group which was bolstered significantly by the arrival of De’Vondre Campbell in 2021. Things took a different turn this past season, however.

Barnes, 24, was limited to just six games played in 2022 due to an ankle injury. He was able to return in November after suffering the injury in Week 1, but his playing time took a noticeable step back. Barnes’ snap share dropped to just 37% on defense, as Campbell and first-round rookie Quay Walker saw the bulk of work for the team. It thus came as little surprise when Green Bay elected not to tender Barnes as a pending restricted free agent.

Now, he will head to Arizona and aim for a return to staring duties in his new home. The Cardinals have been busy at the position so far in free agency, including the addition of Kyzir White. Arizona has also signed Josh Woods and re-upped Ezekiel Turner, though those deals will primarily affect their special teams units. The Cardinals have hybrid defender Isaiah Simmons available as well, depending on how the team’s new coaching staff chooses to use him, along with 2021 first-rounder Zaven Collins and depth option Blake Lynch.

Barnes will look to carve out a role amongst those other ‘backers, as he seeks to boost his own value ahead of next offseason. Arizona has plenty of room for improvement in all aspects of their defense compared to 2022, so a productive season would be beneficial to both player and team in this situation.

Packers Activate LB Krys Barnes From IR

The Packers are adding a key piece back to their defense. Matt Schneidman of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that Green Bay has activated linebacker Krys Barnes from injured reserve.

Barnes suffered a significant ankle injury during Week 1, knocking him off the field for nearly two months. He returned to practice earlier this week, and it didn’t take very long for him to make his way back to the active roster.

The 2020 undrafted free agent out of UCLA has quickly established himself as a starting-caliber linebacker. In 30 career games (23 starts), the 24-year-old has collected 161 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and a pair of fumble recoveries. He’s also started three postseason games, compiling another 20 tackles. Pro Football Focus wasn’t particularly fond of his performance over the past two years, although they did grade him out as an above-average pass-rusher.

Barnes’ return couldn’t come at a better time for the Packers. Star linebacker De’Vondre Campbell suffered a knee injury during Green Bay’s Week 8 loss to the Bills, and he was ruled out for Sunday after missing the entire week of practice. This is a rare absence for the 29-year-old, as he previously missed only a single game over the past five-plus seasons. Rookie first-round pick Quay Walker will take over the ‘communication helmet’ for tomorrow’s game against the Lions.

Injury Updates: Whitehair, Barnes, Molden, Poyer, Cushenberry

The Bears designated starting left guard Cody Whitehair for return from injured reserve today, opening the 21-day practice window for him to be activated. Whitehair has been on IR since suffering a knee injury in a Week 4 loss to the Giants.

Getting Whitehair back in the lineup should be really beneficial for the Bears and developing quarterback Justin Fields. Whitehair has been a full-time starter on the Bears’ offensive line since he was drafted in the second round of the 2016 draft. The former Pro Bowler brings back a key veteran presence in Chicago and could help them push to get back in the race for the NFC North.

Once they feel he’s ready, Whitehair should replace Michael Schofield at left guard. If the Bears don’t feel they can activate him within the 21-day practice window, Whitehair will return to IR for the rest of the season.

Here are a few other injury updates from around the NFL:

  • The Packers have designated linebacker Krys Barnes for return from IR, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. Barnes suffered an ankle injury in the team’s season opener this year and has been on IR ever since. The third-year linebacker out of UCLA had started 23 games through the first two years of his NFL career but was expected to compete with first-round rookie Quay Walker for starting time this season. Bringing Barnes back should help add some quality depth to the Packers’ linebacking corps.
  • The Titans have designated cornerback Elijah Molden for return from IR, according to Titans senior writer Jim Wyatt. Molden had been missing several practices in the preseason due to a groin injury and was placed on IR just before the start of the regular season. Molden had made a significant impact as a rookie last year, starting seven games and showing up all over the defense. Aside from finishing fifth on the team for tackles with 60, Molden had an interception returned for a touchdown, four passes defensed, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, 3.0 tackles for loss, and six quarterback pressures. The Titans have gotten a pleasant surprise from a talented, young group of corners so far this season. Molden will add depth behind third-year starter Kristian Fulton, rookie starter Roger McCreary, rookie Tre Avery, second-year corner Caleb Farley, and the lone veteran, Terrance Mitchell.
  • Bills safety Jordan Poyer, who has already missed two games so far this year, didn’t participate in practice today as he deals with an elbow injury, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The veteran “is considered week-to-week” and could miss some more time. Buffalo already has Damar Hamlin filling in for Micah Hyde, who remains on IR. Special teams ace Jaquan Johnson will fill in for any time Poyer has to miss. He has three such starts over the past two seasons.
  • Broncos third-year starting center Lloyd Cushenberry left last week’s London win over the Jaguars late in the first half with a groin strain. The injury appears to be of some concern as he is expected to “miss some time,” according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS. Veteran Graham Glasgow subbed in for Cushenberry last week in London and is expected to start until he can return. Glasgow has plenty of experience as this is his first year in a backup capacity after six years of starting for the Lions and Broncos before.

Packers Place LB Krys Barnes On IR

Carted off the field in the Packers’ Week 1 game in Minnesota, Krys Barnes landed on injured reserve Tuesday. The Packers will be without the two-year linebacker starter for at least four games.

Although a cart and an aircast were necessary, Barnes is not expected to miss the rest of the season. He suffered a high ankle sprain and a calf injury during the Packers’ season-opening loss, Tom Pelissero of tweets. The team promoted tackle Caleb Jones from its practice squad to take Barnes’ roster spot.

The Packers’ Barnes plans changed this offseason, when they re-signed 2021 All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell and used a first-round pick on Quay Walker. Campbell and Walker are Green Bay’s top off-ball linebackers, though Barnes supplies quality depth. He played nine defensive snaps during his abbreviated Sunday of work.

A UDFA out of UCLA, Barnes became a starter fairly quickly as a pro. The Packers’ Week 1 Minnesota tilt two years ago introduced Barnes as a starter, and he trotted out with the team’s first-stringers 22 more times between the 2020 and ’21 seasons. Pro Football Focus rated Barnes just inside the top 50 at the linebacker spot last season. Barnes, who made 81 tackles last season and recovered two fumbles, should be back as a Green Bay second-stringer at some point this year.

The NFL adjusted its IR rule this offseason. After allowing teams to make unlimited IR-return transactions over the past two seasons, the league capped those moves at eight this year. That will reintroduce some strategy regarding IR, though not nearly as much as before the COVID-19 pandemic.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 4/18/22

Here’s a look at the latest tender decisions from around the NFL:





Minor NFL Transactions: 12/2/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Buffalo Bills

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Packers Place Jordan Love, Krys Barnes On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Packers have run into more trouble with the coronavirus, joining several teams in that regard this week. After seeing COVID-19 deplete their backfield, the Packers learned one of their starting defenders played Thursday night before testing positive Friday morning, Adam Schefter of tweets.

Linebacker Krys Barnes landed on Green Bay’s reserve/COVID-19 list Friday. The Packers also placed rookie quarterback Jordan Love on the list. Barnes tested positive for the coronavirus, Ian Rapoport of tweets. It is not known if Love has tested positive. He may well be a close contact. Players do not have to test positive to be placed on a team’s reserve/COVID list.

Considering the timeline here, this is obviously a key situation for the Packers. A UDFA out of UCLA, Barnes started and played 25 snaps for the Packers. He left the game with a calf injury. Barnes has started all but one Packers game this season.

The Packers were already without running backs A.J. Dillon and Jamaal Williams; Dillon tested positive earlier this week.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/12/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves. Many of these roster decisions involve practice squad promotions. Under the new CBA, teams are permitted to promote two P-squad players without corresponding roster moves per week. Teams can carry 55 players on their rosters for game days and can have up to 48 active.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Promoted: RB Nathan Cottrell, TE Ben Ellefson

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: DB Nate Brooks

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

Packers Sign 15 Undrafted Free Agents

The Packers have become the latest team to bring in a class of undrafted free agents. Green Bay announced that it’s agreed to terms with the following UDFAs:

As you may have heard, the Packers didn’t select a wide receiver at any point during the 2020 draft. Instead, Stewart will represent the only collegiate wideout added to Green Bay’s roster. In his senior season, the 6’2″, 216-pound Stewart posted 49 receptions for 697 yards and two touchdowns. Lance Zierlein of praised Stewart’s size and willingness to block, but noted the ex-Spartan’s “catch technique may need to be stripped and rebuilt.”