Marcus Williams (CB)

Bears Place CB Bryce Callahan On IR

Bryce Callahan‘s season is over. On Wednesday, the Bears placed the slot cornerback on injured reserve. 

Callahan broke a bone in his foot during Sunday’s huge win over the Rams. Initially, the Bears were keeping their fingers crossed for a quick recovery, but further tests revealed that he’ll need more time to heal.

Callahan isn’t a household name, but he has been stellar for Chicago this year. Through 14 weeks, he ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 11 ranked corner in the league, thanks to his strong scores in both coverage and the pass rush. Callahan has two sacks and five total QB hits, showing that his speed can be used for more than just neutralizing receivers.

To take Callahan’s place on the roster, the Bears signed defensive back Marcus Williams. Williams, who previously played for the Texans and Jets, spent two games with the Bucs this season before being waived from IR with a settlement in October.

Without Callahan, the Bears will likely turn to Sherrick McManis as the third corner. He’s a bit unproven, but he has played well in a limited sample of snaps this season. With a bit of luck, and help from the Bears’ linebacker group, McManis could be a decent replacement for Callahan in the postseason.

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

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/11/18

Today’s minor moves:

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

Saints Sign CB Marcus Williams

The Saints now have two Marcus Williams‘. The team is signing the fifth-year jounreyman cornerback, a source told Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate (Twitter link). Williams came into the league as an undrafted free agent back in 2014, signing with the Jets. He made an impact right away, starting eight games as a rookie.

He continued to play a large role in New York over the next couple of seasons, and the team valued him highly. When he was a restricted free agent in 2017, the Jets placed a second round tender on him. Despite paying him $2.75MM under the tender, he quickly fell out of favor and was waived just a few weeks into the 2017 season.

The Texans claimed him off waivers, and he appeared in ten games for them, notching 12 tackles in a reserve role. After the season, he signed with the Cardinals, but was released back in May. Across his four seasons in the league, Williams has played in 49 games, including 15 starts, and racked up 89 tackles, ten interceptions, and 27 passes defended.

Signed this late in the offseason, Williams will be fighting an uphill battle to earn a roster spot with the Saints. New Orleans was apparently looking for some secondary depth, also signing safety Robert Nelson according to Underhill (Twitter link). It’s a nice add at this point in the season for the Saints, as Williams has always shown good ball skills, compiling an impressive amount of interceptions and pass breakups on limited playing time.

Cardinals Release CB Marcus Williams

The Cardinals released cornerback Marcus Williams, according to a team announcement. Williams was signed as a free agent in April, but his time in Arizona has come to an end after just one month. 

The release of Williams comes just after the acquisition of former Browns cornerback Jamar Taylor. Taylor projects as the team’s new starter opposite of Patrick Peterson, which pushed every other cornerback on the depth chart down a peg. That shift wound up pushing Williams off of the roster.

Williams started 15 games in three seasons with the Jets, but did not start a game in 2017. The Jets shopped him in the summer of 2017 and waived him in October, leading him to Houston. With the Texans, he appeared in ten games as a reserve and totaled 12 tackles, four pass deflections, and came up with an interception against the Seahawks in a late October game. His most notable season came in 2015 when he tallied six interceptions in 13 games with Gang Green.

NFC West Notes: ‘Hawks, Thomas, Kaep

Seahawks GM John Schneider says he has not talked to Earl Thomas‘ representatives since the combine, Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times tweets. However, Schneider added that is not unusual. Despite his name being floated in trade rumors this offseason, the GM says that he hopes to have Thomas on the roster when the season begins.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

Cardinals To Sign CB Marcus Williams

The Cardinals have signed cornerback Marcus Williams, according to Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic (on Twitter). Williams finished the 2017 season with the Texans. 

Williams started 15 games in three seasons with the Jets, but did not start a contest in 2017. The Jets shopped him last summer and later waived him in October, leading him to Houston. With the Texans, he appeared in ten games as a reserve and totaled 12 tackles, four pass deflections, and came up with an interception against the Seahawks in a late October game. His most notable season came in 2015 when he tallied six interceptions in 13 games with Gang Green.

Williams will now fight for a reserve job on a cornerback depth chart that is presently headlined by Patrick Peterson and Brandon Williams. If the Cardinals can land an impact cornerback early in the draft, they’ll likely have a rookie starting opposite of P2. Other reserve corners in Arizona include C.J. Goodwin, Ronald Zamort, Jonathan Moxey, Jarell Carter, and free agent pickups Bene Benwikere and Louis Young.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/10/17

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Promoted to active roster: WR Ed Eagan

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Jets Activate WR Jalin Marshall

The Jets have activated wide receiver Jalin Marshall from suspension, the club announced today. In a related move, New York has waived cornerback Marcus Williams.Jalin Marshall (Vertical)

Marshall, who was banned four games for PED use, entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2016. While he didn’t contribute much on offense (14 receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns), Marshall served as the Jets’ primary returner during his rookie campaign. He averaged 25.9 yards per kick return and 5.6 yards per punt return last season, and will likely continue in that role upon his return.

Williams, meanwhile, started 15 games during his first three seasons in New York but hasn’t started a contest in 2017. While he graded as the NFL’s No. 67 corner among 110 qualifiers last year, Pro Football Focus has assigned him poor marks this season. The Jets were reportedly shopping Williams earlier this year, and presumably did so before cutting him today, but couldn’t find any takers.

Jets Have Shopped CB Marcus Williams

The Jets have gauged trade interest in cornerback Marcus Williams recently, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link), who adds New York has “been selling” all offseason.Marcus Williams (vertical)

[RELATED: Jets Shopping Matt Forte]

Given that Gang Green is set to embark on a full-scale rebuild, the concept of dealing Williams doesn’t come as a complete surprise given that he’s entering the final year of his contract. A restricted free agent, Williams is scheduled to earn $2.746MM in 2017, although none of that total is guaranteed. That’s a reasonable figure for a 26-year-old defensive back who appeared in 13 games and played on 457 defensive snaps a season ago. Pro Football Focus assigned Williams middling grades, ranking him as the No. 67 corner among 110 qualifiers.

Williams isn’t projected to start for the Jets next season, as Buster Skrine and Morris Claiborne hold that honor. Instead, Williams — if not traded — will serve as a valuable backup and special teams player. In 2016, Williams played on roughly 20% of New York’s special teams snaps.