Maurice Hurst

Browns To Re-Sign DE Za’Darius Smith, DT Maurice Hurst

Za’Darius Smith joined the Browns on a one-year agreement last offseason. He will remain in Cleveland moving forward rather than testing the market.

The veteran edge rusher has agreed to a new deal with the Browns, Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports. The two-year pact has a base value of $23.5MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network adds. Smith can earn up to $25MM on his next contract.

Meanwhile, the Browns have also re-upped defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. Hurst will receive up to $3.2MM on his one-year deal.

After compiling at least 10 sacks in his three most-recent healthy seasons, Smith caught on with the Browns for the 2023 campaign. He didn’t put up the same numbers in Cleveland but was still productive, finishing with 5.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss, and 20 QB hits.

While the counting stats dropped, Pro Football Focus still considered Smith one of the best edge rushers in the league. The 31-year-old finished the season ranked 16th among 112 qualifying edge defenders, with the site only knocking him for the run defense. The Browns were also clearly happy with Smith’s production, as the team can now pencil him into the depth chart for the next two years.

The former fourth-round pick spent his first four seasons in the NFL with the Ravens before a three-year stint in Green Bay that saw him earn a pair of Pro Bowl nods. He spent the 2022 campaign in Minnesota.

Hurst also emerged as a dependable defender during his first season in Cleveland. The defensive tackle got into 13 games for the Browns, finishing with 22 tackles and 1.5 sacks. He didn’t start a game last season but still managed to appear in close to 40 percent of his team’s defensive snaps.

Browns Place DL Maurice Hurst On IR

The injuries keep piling up in Cleveland, and the Browns will now play the rest of the season without a key defensive lineman. The Browns have placed defensive tackle Maurice Hurst on injured reserve, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston.

[RELATED: Browns T Dawand Jones To Undergo Season-Ending Surgery]

The veteran defensive lineman will miss the rest of the season while nursing a pectoral injury. Hurst was limited to a season-low 28 percent of his team’s defensive snaps during Sunday’s win over the Jaguars.

“My 2023 season is over, and the frustration is unbearable,” Hurst tweeted earlier today. “However I am grateful to my teammates, coaches, staff, and the city of Cleveland for welcoming me and making me a part of this family…. I’ll be back better than before.”

Hurst caught on with Cleveland this past offseason and has seen time in 13 games while appearing in about 40 percent of his team’s defensive snaps. He’s compiled 22 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and five QBs, and more notably, he’s graded as the 11th-best interior defender among 131 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. The site also gave him a top-10 positional grade for his run-stopping ability.

Hurst spent three seasons with the Raiders to begin his career, collecting eight sacks in 40 games. He got into two games with the 49ers in 2021, and after re-signing with the organization, a torn bicep kept him off the field for the entire 2022 campaign.

With Hurst out of the lineup, the Browns could simply hand out his weekly snaps to the other DTs on the roster. Dalvin Tomlinson has led the position grouping in snap count this season (491), but Jordan Elliott (309), Shelby Harris (306), and Hurst (304) have pretty much rotated in and out of the lineup.

The Browns also announced that they’ve placed offensive lineman Dawand Jones on IR. The right tackle suffered a knee injury at practice last week that will require season-ending surgery.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/31/23

Following a busy roster deadline day on Tuesday, teams continue to reshuffle their rosters. Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • Placed on IR: TE Stephen Sullivan

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

The Ravens brought back a trio of veterans to their 53-man roster. Brent Urban is probably destined for the biggest role, with the veteran lineman serving as the top backup to Broderick Washington at defensive end. Urban got into 16 games for Baltimore last season, collecting 21 tackles and one sack. Veteran QB Josh Johnson will slide behind Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley on the depth chart, and Kevon Seymour will continue his role as a key special teamer.

The Cardinals are temporarily losing some production with offensive lineman Dennis Daley and linebacker Myjai Sanders being placed on IR. Daley joined the Cardinals on a two-year deal this offseason after starting 15 of his 17 appearances for the Titans in 2022. Sanders had a productive rookie campaign, with the third-round pick collecting 23 tackles, three sacks, and one forced fumble.

Julian Okwara has turned into a productive pass-rushing option in Detroit. The former third-round pick has collected seven sacks over the past two seasons, but he’ll now be sidelined for the start of the season while recovering from a knee injury suffered during in the preseason finale.

Browns Trim Roster To 53

The Browns found a new kicker today, but on roster deadline day, that obviously wasn’t their only move. The organization made a number of cuts to get to the 53-man roster limit:



Placed on reserve/NFI:

At one point, Demetric Felton looked like he could be a worthy backup to Nick Chubb, but the versatile offensive weapon has fallen down the depth chart. The former sixth-round pick had an okay rookie season in 2021, finishing with 205 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. However, he was limited to only three touches in eight games last season.

Kellen Mond seemed like a long shot to make the roster, and the Browns ultimately decided to role with only two quarterbacks in Deshaun Watson and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Mond has only gotten into one regular season game, completing two passes for the Vikings in 2021.

Browns To Sign TE Jordan Akins

Jordan Akins visited the Browns on Friday, and the veteran tight end will not leave Cleveland without a contract. The Browns are signing Deshaun Watson‘s former Texans teammate, according to his agency (on Twitter).

The five-year veteran played with Watson for three seasons and has spent his entire regular-season career in Houston. The Texans reacquired Akins after the Giants cut him before he played a game with the team. Now, he will head to the Browns.

Cleveland is giving Akins a two-year deal worth up to $5.2MM, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets. Even if that is the max value, it still tops the league-minimum accord the Giants gave him during the 2022 offseason. It represents decent money for a tight end who, despite only being a five-year vet, is entering his age-31 season. The Texas Rangers drafted Akins out of high school in 2010, choosing him in the third round, and the future tight end toiled in the minor leagues for four years before picking up football again.

Akins’ failure to make the Giants’ 53-man roster last year still preceded a career-high receiving yardage total upon his Texans return. The sixth-year tight end is coming off a 495-yard, five-touchdown season. Touchdown No. 5 ended up reshaping multiple franchises’ futures. Akins caught a game-winning touchdown on fourth-and-20, giving Lovie Smith a victory over the Colts in his final game as Texans HC. That result gave the Bears the No. 1 overall pick, and it allowed them to receive a monster trade haul from the Panthers for the selection.

Role in that seminal play (for draft purposes) notwithstanding, Akins has three 400-plus-yard seasons on his resume and has been the most productive Texans tight end over the past several seasons. The Browns, of course, have already paid a tight end near-top-market money, and Akins will fill in behind David Njoku. Harrison Bryant is also going into the final season of his rookie contract; Bryant totaled 239 receiving yards and one touchdown last season.

The Browns also added defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, Mike Garafolo of tweets. Hurst is coming off a missed 2022 season; he went down with a torn bicep in July. Hurst, who played two seasons with the Raiders and one apiece with the Chargers and 49ers, has mostly worked as a rotational defensive lineman. The second-generation NFLer did start 10 games for a rebuilding Raiders team as a rookie in 2018. Hurst registered 7.5 of his eight career sacks during his first two seasons.

49ers Sign DT Akeem Spence, Place DT Maurice Hurst On IR

San Francisco brought in some veteran depth at defensive tackle today, signing Akeem Spence to a one-year deal, according to the team’s press release this morning. Spence is set to join his ninth team after as many years in the league. 

Spence has become a bit of a journeyman over the last couple of years. After playing out his rookie contract in Tampa Bay, Spence has bounced around every year since. Spence signed a three-year contact with the Lions to leave the Buccaneers but was traded after one year to the Dolphins. Miami released him before he could play out the last year of his second contract. The 2019 season saw Spence play games for both the Eagles and Jaguars. He joined the Patriots in the middle of the 2020 season and played one game for Washington last year. After being released by Washington, Spence ended the season on Denver’s practice squad.

The 49ers don’t necessarily need Spence to return to the form he once held when he was starting games for the Buccaneers, Lions, and Dolphins, but having that veteran experience behind starters Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead is comforting. The addition is likely also a reaction to the season-ending injury of Maurice Hurst. San Francisco officially made the move today, assigning Hurst to injured reserve.

49ers DT Maurice Hurst Tore Biceps, Expected To Miss Season

Maurice Hurst‘s bad luck with the 49ers continues. The defensive tackle tore his biceps during practice on Friday and will have to undergo surgery, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (on Twitter). The injury will likely sideline Hurst for the entire 2022 season, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Hurst was a fifth-round pick by the Raiders in 2018, and he ended up spending three seasons with the organization. After collecting 31 tackles and four sacks in 13 games (10 starts) as a rookie, Hurst only started seven games and compiled four more sacks in his final two seasons with the Raiders.

The 27-year-old caught on with San Francisco last offseason. Hurst started the season on injured reserve after suffering a high ankle sprain during the preseason. He returned for a pair of games before nursing a calf injury the rest of the way. Hurst re-signed with the 49ers in March, inking a veteran salary exception worth a bit more than $1MM. The team later released and re-signed the defensive tackle to save a chunk of cash.

Heading into training camp, defensive tackle looked like an area of strength for the 49ers. Now, the team is down three players at the position. Besides Hurst, Hassan Ridgeway is dealing with a quad injury and is out of practice, while Arik Armstead‘s sprained knee will sideline him for a few weeks. Fortunately, Javon Kinlaw will return to practice after recovering from a knee sprain, but as Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets, the former first-round pick will be on a “pitch count” for at least the next few practices.

49ers Release, Re-Sign DL Maurice Hurst

For a brief moment today, Maurice Hurst was a free agent. According to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (on Twitter), the 49ers released the defensive tackle before re-signing him to a one-year contract.

Clearly, this was a procedural move that surely saved the team a small chunk of cap, but we won’t know how much the 49ers saved until terms are announced. Hurst re-signed with the 49ers in March, inking a veteran salary exception worth a bit more than $1MM. While the veteran presumably signed the same deal this time around, the front office could have pushed some money down the road (per David Lombardi of The Athletic on Twitter).

Hurst was a fifth-round pick by the Raiders in 2018, and he ended up spending three seasons with the team. After collecting 31 tackles and four sacks in 13 games (10 starts) as a rookie, Hurst only started seven games and compiled four more sacks in his final two seasons with the organization.

The 26-year-old caught on with San Francisco last offseason, and after starting the season on injured reserve, he ended up getting into only a pair of games for his new squad.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/10/22

Today’s minor NFL transactions:

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Signed: OL Brandon Murphy

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

David Bakhtiari Not Playing Vs. Niners

Nine-year veteran tackle David Bakhtiari missed nearly the entire 2021 NFL season after tearing his ACL on New Year’s Eve during the 2020 season. Unfortunately, he will have to continue waiting to play in his first playoff game since January of 2019, as the team announced, via Twitter, that he will be inactive for tonight’s game against the 49ers. 

Bakhtiari had made a return for the Packers’ regular season finale, making the start in Detroit, but only playing 40% of the team’s offensive snaps. Head Coach Matt LaFleur shook off the early exit in a postgame press conference stating, “I wouldn’t say it’s anything we’re concerned about,” but it appears some continual discomfort throughout the week will keep the two-time All Pro from making a postseason return, just yet.

In the absence of Bakhtiari this year, the Packers have employed Elgton Jenkins at the blindside tackle position. Despite the reshuffled offensive line and several other injuries to key players, Green Bay still secured a first-round bye and homefield advantage. They will work tonight to extend their season another week and give Bakhtiari at least one more chance for a postseason return.

Other inactives for the Packers listed for the game tonight were safeties Shawn Davis & Vernon Scott, linebacker Jonathan Garvin, and wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The 49ers will be without cornerbacks Ambry Thomas & Deommodore Lenoir, safety Jarrod Wilson, running back Trey Sermon, linebacker Marcell Harris, offensive lineman Jaylon Moore, and defensive lineman Maurice Hurst. Packers’ cornerback Jaire Alexander is expected to play tonight after being listed as questionable.