Luke Bowanko

Lions Waive QB Connor Cook

The Lions’ search for a backup quarterback continues. On Monday, the club released former Michigan State QB and NFL journeyman Connor Cook, according to a team announcement. He was replaced by QB David Fales, who has also had multiple stops throughout the NFL. 

Cook, 26, entered the league as a fourth-round pick of the Raiders in 2016. he saw time in just one game as a rookie and has not taken a regular season snap since. He has, however, had practice squad/futures stints with the Panthers, Bengals, and Lions. His next deal could bring him to his fifth team in four years.

Cook was thought to have a chance at the No. 2 QB role behind starter Matthew Stafford, but his release leaves Tom Savage as the favorite. Meanwhile, Fales will look to make his case.

In related moves, the club also signed offensive lineman Luke Bowanko and released safety David Jones.

Redskins Sign G Jonathan Cooper

The Redskins’ offensive line depth chart looks incredibly different a day after the group was ravaged during a Week 9 loss to the Falcons. Multiple starters are now on IR and new faces will have to acclimate quickly.

Another newcomer will be Jonathan Cooper. The former top-10 pick-turned-journeyman signed with the Redskins on Monday. Cooper has not played this season. The 49ers signed him to a near-$5MM deal this offseason but cut him after the preseason’s conclusion.

Washington lost starting guards Brandon Scherff and Shaun Lauvao, who have since been placed on IR. Trent Williams is also dealing with an injury. Veteran Austin Howard is now on the team. So is Luke Bowanko, who joined Cooper and Howard in agreeing to terms Monday.

The Redskins also worked out offensive linemen Chris Scott, Zac Kerin and Matt McCants. Instead, they opted for some higher-profile blockers in Howard, Cooper and Bowanko. Washington remains in first place in the NFC East, sitting at 5-3, but the blowout loss to Atlanta suddenly has this somewhat surprising run in jeopardy of fizzling. The Eagles are one game back.

Cooper worked out for the Ravens in September. This latest mid-Atlantic trek is the only other known audition in which the former Cardinals first-rounder is known to have participated. Although he’s bounced around, the North Carolina alum started 13 games as the Cowboys’ left guard last season. That landed him a one-year, $4.95MM 49ers contract. But that stay was brief. San Francisco opted to go with Mike Person over Cooper as a starter.

Bowanko spent time with the Patriots this offseason but didn’t make their 53-man roster out of camp. He worked out for the Browns and Bears earlier this season.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/30/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. All links to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise specified.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

NFL Workout Updates: 10/17/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Washington Redskins

Patriots Make Roster Cuts

The Patriots are the latest team to move to 53 players by making the following transactions:

Placed on injured reserve:


New England kept only three true wide receivers on its initial roster, meaning the club will almost surely be searching for more options on the waiver wire.

Patriots Notes: Matthews, Mitchell, QBs

While Tom Brady may be a year-to-year proposition following the 2018 season, his timeline may not matter to Jordan Matthews since the receiver signed only a one-year deal with the Patriots. And the wideout factored the future Hall of Fame quarterback into his decision considerably. Matthews wanted to catch passes from Brady, Mike Reiss of notes. The reigning NFL MVP is still near the peak of his powers despite going into his age-41 season, and Matthews made a point to include two of the game’s premier quarterbacks in his free agency tour. Matthews visited the Packers and Patriots, with Titans and Cardinals stops being on his spring itinerary as well, but he will spend a year in New England. The fifth-year receiver has done his most prominent NFL work in the slot, but Julian Edelman is due back this season. Reiss reports Matthews had other offers. The Cardinals extended one to him before signing Brice Butler. Matthews faced the Patriots once last season while with the Bills but did his best work — three 800-plus-yard seasons — with the Eagles.

Here’s the latest out of New England:

  • Malcolm Mitchell also figures to be a part of Brady’s receiving corps in 2018 after missing all of his second season with a knee injury. He’s expected to be ready for OTAs, per Reiss, and has been working with Alex Guererro at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center.
  • Troy Niklas may not factor in prominently in Brady’s arsenal, having caught just 19 passes in four seasons and being known for his blocking more. But Reiss notes a knock on the former Cardinals tight end has been that his physicality doesn’t match up with what would be expected from a 6-foot-6, 270-pound player. Should he make the New England roster, it’s likely he’ll be asked to block plenty considering Rob Gronkowski is expected back.
  • The Patriots may be taking a flier on Luke Bowanko because of his versatility. Reiss writes Bowanko worked at all five offensive line spots in practice while with the Jaguars, and Bill Belichick values an assorted skill set. An interior lineman in games, Bowanko would seemingly be in line for a swing backup job if he were to make the 53-man roster.
  • Belichick’s history and the Patriots’ need for talent capable of helping the near-future rosters points to New England not pulling off a blockbuster trade for a quarterback, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston writes. Curran expects Brady to at least play out his through-2019 contract before evaluating if he wants to play what would be a 21st season in 2020. Although, Robert Kraft said the team needs to think about taking a quarterback this year since there is no longer a viable succession plan after the Jimmy Garoppolo trade.

AFC Notes: Ravens, Broncos Titans, Patriots

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to hold a top-30 visit with the Ravens, which is expected to be one of his final — if not his final — visit with an NFL team prior to the upcoming draft, per Albert Breer of MMQB (on Twitter). The Ravens hold the No. 16 overall pick in the draft.

Jackson has visited with several teams leading up to the draft, including the Browns, who hold the No. 1, 4 and 33 overall picks. Jackson elected to not run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine or his pro day. He’s also had a private workout with the Texans and all 32 teams attended his pro day.

The Ravens made quarterback news earlier this week by signing Robert Griffin III to a one-year, $1MM deal. The Ravens decided to not re-sign Ryan Mallett, who backed up Joe Flacco last season. Griffin, who has not appeared in an NFL contest since making five starts for the Browns in 2016, is joined by Josh Woodrum as the current backups to Flacco heading into training camp.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Iowa center James Daniels will be visiting with NFL teams this week and the Broncos are on that list, according to Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (on Twitter). Daniels is expected to go near the second round of the upcoming draft. Connor McGovern is currently projected to start at center for the Broncos.
  • Steve Watterson is retiring from his post as the Titans‘ strength and conditioning coach — they announced in a release Friday — after 32 years with the team. Tom Kanavy, who has 22 years of experience in the NFL, will take over the position.
  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter) has the details on the Patriots‘ contracts for tight end Troy Niklas and offensive lineman Luke Bowanko.
  •  Earlier Friday, we learned that the Chiefs promoted Dave Toub as their associate head coach to go along with his role as Kansas City’s special teams coordinator.

Patriots To Sign OL Luke Bowanko

Luke Bowanko will make his way to New England, moving to a new team for a third straight season. The Patriots agreed to terms with the free agent offensive lineman, Field Yates of tweets.

A former sixth-round Jaguars pick in 2014, Bowanko figures to compete for a depth spot as part of the Pats’ interior line behind the Joe Thuney/David Andrews/Shaq Mason trio. Bowanko has been a backup for the past three years but was a full-season starter at center as a rookie.

The Jags traded Bowanko to the Ravens just prior to last season, and he played in 16 games (with one start) during the 2017 slate.

New England re-signed LaAdrian Waddle and added Matt Tobin this offseason. Bowanko, 26, will join them in competing for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Jaguars, Ravens Complete Trade

The Jaguars have traded center Luke Bowanko to the Ravens, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). It’s not immediately known what the Jaguars are getting in the swap, but it’s likely a late round draft pick.

Bowanko has an opportunity to get playing time right off the bat given the injuries on the Ravens’ offensive line. Baltimore brought Jeremy Zuttah back into the fold in August to fill the gap at center, but he was released on Friday along with a host of other notable veterans.

Bowanko, a sixth round pick in the 2016 draft, has spent time on the Jaguars’ 53-man roster and practice squad over the last three years. In December, he was called back up to the 53-man roster when Julius Thomas and Jared Odrick were placed on injured reserve.

Bowanko is the second offensive lineman to come to the Ravens via trade this week. On Friday, Baltimore acquired veteran interior lineman Tony Bergstrom from the Cardinals.

Jaguars Put Julius Thomas, Jared Odrick On IR

Two 2015 free agent signings who haven’t quite panned out to the Jaguars’ liking will spend the rest of the season on injured reserve, with the Jags shelving Julius Thomas and Jared Odrick, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union tweets.

Offensive lineman Luke Bowanko and running back Bronson Hill will ascend to the 53-man roster, Bowanko from the PUP list and Hill from the practice squad, respectively, per O’Halloran.

Sidelined with a back injury, Thomas has not played since Nov. 20 and has not delivered the kind of production the Jaguars envisioned when they signed him to one of the top tight end contracts in the league at five years and $46MM. Of course, not much has gone right for the Jags this season, and Thomas isn’t the only offensive talent to underperform. The sixth-year pass-catcher has 30 receptions for 281 yards and four touchdowns in nine games.

Odrick, who will miss the rest of the season due to a spate injuries, inked a five-year deal worth $42.5MM last year and also hasn’t lived up to the contract. He has one sack this season in six games. A former Dolphins first-round pick, Odrick started every game in 2015 but has seen numerous maladies sidetrack him during this his seventh season. Triceps, quadriceps, ankle and shoulder ailments plagued Odrick, who profiles as a potential cap casualty in the spring.

The Jags can save $8.5MM off their 2017 cap by cutting Odrick in March. His contract structured as a two-year deal with an escape hatch after 2016, Jacksonville would not take on any dead money by shedding it before the ’17 league year begins.

Thomas, meanwhile, would bring a $3.6MM dead-money charge. The former Broncos tight end who came to north Florida having back-to-back seasons of 12 touchdown receptions has totaled nine in two years with the Jags, and the injury troubles that induced the former 2011 fourth-round pick to miss 28 games in four Denver seasons have continued in Jacksonville. Although this season didn’t bring the kind of ankle trouble Thomas experienced during his first five, his deal will likely be a discussion point for what is almost certain to be a revamped Jags decision-making staff in 2017.