Matt Hennessy

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/31/22

Today’s roster moves heading into gameday:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Promoted from practice squad: G Kyle Hinton, DL T.J. Smith

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

Falcons Activate OL Elijah Wilkinson From IR, Designate OL Matt Hennessy For Return

Still in the mix for their first NFC South title since 2016, the Falcons made some moves on offense Monday. Multiple offensive linemen are moving back into the picture for the run-oriented squad.

The Falcons activated Elijah Wilkinson from IR and designated Matt Hennessy for return. Even after Wilkinson’s activation, the Falcons still have five injury-return moves remaining. Hennessy has been out of action since Week 9; Wilkinson since Week 8.

[RELATED: Falcons To Place Marcus Mariota On IR]

After a multiyear run as a Broncos spot starter, when he was primarily asked to fill in for Ja’Wuan James due to the latter’s 2019 injury and 2020 opt-out, Wilkinson landed with the Bears last season. Chicago used Wilkinson as a starter just once in 2021, but he won Atlanta’s left guard job out of training camp this year. Wilkinson, 27, has started all seven games he has played this season. A knee injury halted that stretch.

Atlanta’s starting center from 2020-21, Hennessy lost his job to Drew Dalman ahead of this season. The third-year blocker filled in for Wilkinson at guard in Week 9. The Falcons have run out four starting left guards this season. Hennessy, Colby Gossett and ex-Jet Chuma Edoga have seen time since Wilkinson’s injury. The 5-8 team will be better-positioned at this spot in Week 15, particularly if it activates Hennessy by Saturday’s deadline. The Falcons let Jalen Mayfield‘s IR-return window close last week, ending the former third-round pick’s season.

Although the Falcons are in good shape for IR activations, they released Damien Williams from their injured list Monday. The veteran running back, who joined Wilkinson in coming over from the Bears (along with ex-Chicago GM Ryan Pace) this offseason, has been out since September due to a rib injury. Williams is believed to be healthy, Adam Schefter of tweets.

Williams, 30, worked as the Chiefs’ top backfield option between Kareem Hunt and Clyde Edwards-Helaire‘s Kansas City stays and played a major role in the team’s Super Bowl LIV-winning push. Williams scored 10 touchdowns between the 2018 and ’19 postseasons. The Chiefs released Williams in 2021, after a COVID-19 opt-out, and he logged 40 carries alongside David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert last season. The Falcons have turned to Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley more in Williams’ absence, and both young players will not see a Williams activation disrupt their roles.

Falcons Place OL Matt Hennessy On IR

Matt Hennessy is heading to injured reserve. The Falcons announced (via Twitter) that they’ve placed the center on IR. To fill the open roster spot, safety Jovante Moffatt has been signed to Atlanta’s active roster from the practice squad.

Hennessy was a third-round pick by the organization in 2020. After getting into 13 games as a rookie, the lineman started all 17 games for the Falcons in 2021, with Pro Football Focus grading him among the best at his position. Despite that performance, he lost his starting gig to Drew Dalman during training camp. As a result, he played exclusively on special teams through his first eight games this season.

He started at left guard in place of Elijah Wilkinson during Week 9, earning 50 snaps on offense. A knee injury ended up knocking him out towards the end of the game, and the injury will now force him to miss at least the next four games. Colby Gossett slid into the lineup in place of Hennessy on Sunday and could end up keeping the starting gig until Wilkinson returns.

The Falcons needed some depth at safety after trading Dean Marlowe at the deadline. Erik Harris is also dealing with a foot injury that forced him out of the lineup for Week 9. Moffatt has seen time in 16 games since entering the league in 2020. He joined the Falcons’ practice squad in September and has earned a pair of promotions this season.

Falcons Sign A.J. Terrell, Wrap Draft Class

It took a little while, but the Falcons wrapped their entire draft class in one shot. Per a club announcement, all six of their rookies have officially signed: 

1-16: A.J. Terrell, CB (Clemson)
2-47: Marlon Davidson, DT (Auburn)
3-78: Matt Hennessy, C (Temple)
4-119: Mykal Walker, LB (Fresno State)
4-134: Jaylinn Hawkins, S (California)
7-228: Sterling Hofrichter, K (Syracuse)

Per the terms of his slot, Terrell will receive a four-year deal worth $14.31MM – fully guaranteed. The Clemson star put himself on the radar in 2018 with 53 tackles and three interceptions, including a pick six at the expense of Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in the 2019 title game. After an All-ACC season in 2019, Terrell had little reason to return for his final year of eligibility. Some saw him as a second-round type heading into the draft, but the Falcons nabbed him midway through the first, giving them some help in the wake of Desmond Trufant‘s departure.

Hennessy, a Temple product, agreed to terms with the Falcons on Monday. That selection brought disappointment in Denver – the Broncos wanted him at No. 79, but the Falcons struck first and nabbed him at No. 78.

NFL Draft Signings: 7/20/20

With training camps looming, teams are rushing to get picks signed. Here are the latest draft deals:

  • The Falcons signed third-round center Matt Hennessy. The No. 78 overall pick is set to develop behind Pro Bowler Alex Mack, whose contract expires after the 2020 season. Atlanta’s Hennessy pick caused Denver to change course, with the Broncos having a deal in place with the Jets to move up to No. 79 to draft the Temple blocker. But the Falcons struck one pick earlier, allocating another early-round resource to their offensive line after using two first-round picks on the group last year.
  • The Jets were busy Monday, signing three of their 2020 draftees. Third-round pass rusher Jabari Zuniga (Florida), fourth-round quarterback James Morgan (Florida International) and sixth-round punter Braden Mann (Texas A&M) are now under contract. Mann is on track to be Gang Green’s punter, while Zuniga may a rotational role from the outset. Despite an apparent need, the Jets were not especially aggressive in addressing their years-long edge-rushing issue this offseason. Morgan will be on track for the developmental route, with the Jets having signed Joe Flacco after the draft.
  • Two Cowboys picks agreed to terms as well. Fifth-round defensive end Bradlee Anae (Utah) and seventh-round quarterback Ben DiNucci are under contract. Both project as backups, with the latter — a former Pitt recruit who transferred to James Madison — joining Clayton Thorson as UDFA QBs behind Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton.

Broncos Notes: Draft, Lindsay, O-Line

At pick No. 83, the Broncos drafted center Lloyd Cushenberry. The starting snapper for national champion LSU is the early favorite to be Denver’s Week 1 center. However, he may well have been the Broncos’ second choice for this role. The Broncos had a deal in place to move up to No. 79, where they would have taken Temple center Matt Hennessy, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. The Jets were set to drop from No. 79 to No. 83 and add a Day 3 pick from the Broncos to do so, Mehta notes. The Falcons, however, scuttled these plans by drafting Hennessy at No. 78. Instead of moving up for Cushenberry, the Broncos stood pat. Interestingly, the Jets’ signing of two-year Broncos starter Connor McGovern created a Denver need at center. With the Falcons interrupting a Jets trade-down maneuver, Gang Green took defensive end Jabari Zuniga at No. 79.

Here is the latest out of Denver:

  • Melvin Gordon‘s two-year, $16MM Denver deal surprised many, with the Broncos already featuring two-time 1,000-yard rusher Phillip Lindsay. Count Lindsay as one of those surprised by the move. “It caught me off-guard,” Lindsay said during an interview with’s Terrell Davis (video link via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala). “It was like, ‘OK, I’ve put in work.’ It makes it seem like they don’t respect you enough to know the work you’re putting in. I was really upset at the beginning. I’m not gonna lie.” Lindsay said soon after he has since come around to the prospect of splitting time with Gordon, viewing the ex-Charger as another weapon in a retooled offense. As a 2018 UDFA, Lindsay is extension-eligible. He is set to make just $750K but has not indicated plans for a holdout.
  • Although the Broncos passed on Garett Bolles‘ $11MM fifth-year option, they did not draft a tackle. The team passed on both Ezra Cleveland and Josh Jones in Round 2, doing so to take Penn State speedster K.J. Hamler at No. 46. The Broncos passed on the blockers because they did not view either as having the chance to beat out Bolles or Elijah Wilkinson at left tackle, per Troy Renck of Denver7. Wilkinson, who played right tackle most of last season because of Ja’Wuan James‘ injury, is set to compete with Bolles for Denver’s starting left tackle gig.
  • Despite Bolles’ penchant for holding penalties and failure to thus far live up to his first-round billing, the Broncos are not in the market for a free agent tackle, Jhabvala notes (subscription required). Jason Peters, Donald Penn, Kelvin Beachum and Cordy Glenn are the most notable names available.