Luke Gifford

Titans Place DL Jeffery Simmons, LB Jack Gibbens On IR

The Titans were on busy on Saturday with respect to roster decisions. Among the many moves made on Saturday was defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons and linebackers Jack Gibbens and Luke Gifford being placed on injured reserve.

Players moved to IR are required to miss at least four weeks. Since the Titans have been eliminated from postseason contention, the news confirms that trio will not see the field again in 2023. The loss of Simmons and Gibbens in particular will deal a signficant blow to Tennessee’s defense to close out the season. The Titans’ special teams unit will also be notably weaker without Gifford in the fold.

Simmons has already missed the past two games due to a knee injury. Head coach Mike Vrabel made it clear a multi-week absence would be on tap, so with the Titans out of contention it comes as little surprise that they will shut him down for the rest of the year. 2024 will mark his next action; it also represents the beginning of his four-year, $94MM extension signed this offseason.

The 26-year-old was one of many young defensive tackles who earned a substantial raise, and he maintained his status as an impact defender this season. Simmons racked up 44 tackles (including 10 for loss) along with 5.5 sacks in 2023. Especially with Teair Tart out of the picture, Tennessee’s D-line will look much different to close out the year.

Gibbens did enough last season to earn a signficant role in 2023. The former UDFA logged a 66% snap share on defense this season, starting 13 of his 14 appearances. Gibbens totaled 92 tackles (which ranked second on the team), proving his value as a key member of the Titans’ front seven. He is a pending exclusive rights free agent, and it will be interesting to see how the team handles his financial future given the impact he made this year.

Gifford joined Tennessee this offseason on a two-year, $4MM deal. As was the case during his Cowboys tenure, he was used almost exclusively on special teams in his debut Titans campaign. Gifford saw a career-high 83% snap share in the third phase, compared to just eight total defensive snaps. He could have seen a more diverse workload in Gibbens’ absence, but instead he will join safety Amani Hooker in being shelved for the final weeks of the season.

To fill the open roster spots, the Titans announced the signings of linebacker JoJo Domannalong with offensive linemen John Ojukwu and Andrew Rupcich. All three were on the team’s practice squad, and they will now have the opportunity to see game action as Tennessee’s injury list continues to grow.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/14/23

Today’s minor transactions:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

New England Patriots

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions:  3/18/22

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals 

  • Re-Signed: LB Ezekiel Turner

Buffalo Bills

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/9/22

The deadline for teams to extend tender offers to their restricted free agents and exclusive rights free agents looms next week. We’ll keep tabs on the latest here:





Cowboys LB Luke Gifford Suspended Two Games

A minor suspension to pass along, as the league announced Tuesday that Cowboys reserve linebacker Luke Gifford had been hit with a two-game ban.

The suspension comes for violating the league’s PED policy. It won’t have a massive impact on Dallas, since Gifford doesn’t play much at all on defense. He’s mostly appeared on special teams for the six games he’s been active so far this season. He’ll be eligible to return for their Week 13 game against the Bengals.

An UDFA from Nebraska, Gifford signed with the Cowboys as a rookie in 2019 and cracked the opening roster. He was on the 53 pretty much the whole season but was often a healthy scratch, appearing in only six games then as well.

Extra Points: Tight Ends, Bullough, Cowboys

With the regular season winding down, attention across the league is understandably starting to turn toward the offseason. There are a ton of interesting storylines for 2020 free agency, and one of them is that tight ends across the NFL are about to get paid. A number of top tight ends are either going to be entering free agency or the final years of their deals, and multiple sources tell Adam Schefter of they will “redefine the value of NFL tight ends, and the position is about to see a major bump in the salaries paid to them.”

The 49ers’ George Kittle is going to be entering the final year of his deal and San Francisco will likely seek to work out an extension. Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz is also going to be entering a contract year, while Atlanta’s Austin Hooper will be a free agent this spring. The Chargers’ Hunter Henry and Eric Ebron of the Colts are also both slated to be free agents. Schefter writes that “few around the league believe that Kittle will play next season” still under his rookie deal, so it sounds like he’s going to land a massive extension. He’ll probably become the league’s highest-paid tight end whenever that happens. The position isn’t as deep as it used to be league-wide, but the top ones are playing huge roles on some of the NFL’s top offenses. Now, it sounds like they’re going to break the bank.

Here’s more as Week 15 comes to a close:

  • We’ve got minor retirement news to pass along, as linebacker Riley Bullough is hanging up his cleats, per Jenna Laine of (Twitter link). A Michigan State product, Bullough is best remembered by NFL fans for being featured prominently in the 2017 season of HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ while with the Buccaneers. Bullough signed with Tampa as an UDFA in 2017, and bounced between their practice squad and active roster over the next two years. He started three games for the Bucs last year, and was in camp with Tennessee this summer. He comes from a football family, with his brother Max and father Shane both also playing at MSU. Max spent a few years in the NFL with the Texans and Browns.
  • The Cowboys pulled off a big win over the Rams on Sunday, but they also suffered a blow to their depth. Rookie linebacker Luke Gifford will miss the rest of the season with a fractured arm he picked up during the win, a source told Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Gifford, an UDFA from Nebraska, has only appeared in five games this season due to injury, but he’s been playing a pretty big role on special teams when healthy. He’s yet to take a defensive snap in his pro career.
  • In case you missed it, it looks like Freddie Kitchens will be back in Cleveland next year.

Cowboys Add 13 UDFAs

The Cowboys announced their 13-man UDFA group Tuesday. One familiar-looking name appears on this list. Here is the full contingent:

Allen is indeed the son of Hall of Fame Cowboy Larry Allen. Like his father, Larry Allen Jr. primarily works as a guard. He earned first-team All-Ivy League honors twice. While Clemson’s defensive line received the draft attention, Hyatt was a two-time first-team All-American.

The younger brother of Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise, Daniel Wise was a two-time first-team All-Big 12 player. Westry stands 6-foot-4, making him a natural fit for Kris Richard‘s scheme. One of three linebackers in this group, Phillips led Oklahoma State in tackles last season. Dowell was among the Big Ten’s 2018 tackle leaders, registering 97 with the Spartans as a senior.