Mike Strachan

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/15/22

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

  • Waived: DE Carson Taylor

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

 Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions 

Green Bay Packers 

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts 

Jacksonville Jaguars 

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins 

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Packers Pursued Julio Jones; Colts Did Not Show Interest

Julio Jones‘ Buccaneers agreement — a one-year, $6MM deal — became official Wednesday morning. The future Hall of Fame wide receiver joined a team that already carried one of the NFL’s best receiving groups, but he was linked to teams with question marks at the position.

The Packers were another team to pursue Jones, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). While other teams are believed to be involved here, Tampa Bay and Green Bay represent Jones’ known suitors. The Colts were not involved, with GM Chris Ballard indicating the team was not planning to add the former Falcons and Titans target (Twitter link via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson).

Green Bay represented one of Odell Beckham Jr.‘s most prominent pursuers last year, and the Jones situation unfolded similarly. After Beckham joined the Rams, Jones is set up to help another Packers NFC rival. The Pack offered Beckham the veteran minimum; the Rams came in with a better proposal to snare the talented wideout last November. It appears likely the Packers’ Jones offer came in south of the Bucs’, sending the All-Decade pass catcher to a team flush with receiver options.

The Packers are attempting to regroup at wideout, having lost their top two options from recent years — Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. They did add Sammy Watkins in free agency and North Dakota State’s Christian Watson in Round 2, before also drafting Nevada’s Romeo Doubs in Round 4. But the team’s receiving corps is light on dependable players and noticeably lacks a No. 1-type option — barring Watson breaking out quickly. Green Bay has been linked to OBJ again this offseason, but Los Angeles has shown far more consistent interest.

Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb represent the Packers’ top holdover options, with the former having an opportunity to make a major climb in Aaron Rodgers‘ aerial hierarchy ahead of a potential 2023 free agency bid. Beyond Beckham, veterans like Emmanuel Sanders, T.Y. Hilton, Cole Beasley and Will Fuller remain unsigned. But Jones moves a key piece off the board.

Linked consistently to the Colts this offseason, Hilton remains on the team’s radar. Ballard confirmed the team has not ruled out a reunion with the third-leading receiver in team history (Twitter link via Erickson). The Colts lost Zach Pascal to the Eagles in free agency and are counting on second-round rookie Alec Pierce to be a key auxiliary piece in their Michael Pittman Jr.-fronted receiving cadre. Beyond Pittman, the Colts are thin on known commodities at the receiver position. Parris Campbell remains in the team’s plans, but injuries have defined his career through three years. Second-year player Mike Strachan underwent knee surgery this summer, per The Athletic’s Zak Keefer, who adds (via Twitter) the 2021 seventh-round pick may be sidelined until the final days of training camp.

Colts Place LB Darius Leonard On PUP List

The Colts have placed linebacker Darius Leonard on the PUP list, as Stephen Holder of ESPN.com writes. This was the expected move after Leonard underwent back surgery in June.

It seems that a nerve issue in Leonard’s back caused the ankle pain that ailed him throughout the 2021 season and continued to give him trouble this spring (despite the fact that he had the ankle operated on in June 2021). Per Holder, the team has not indicated when Leonard will return to the field, but the most recent reporting on the matter suggested that he would be available near the start of training camp, which opens this week.

Despite the injury concerns, Leonard performed at his usual stellar level in 2021, earning his third First Team All-Pro bid in his fourth professional season. Pro Football Focus assigned him a 79.0 overall grade, which was the sixth-highest mark among all qualified LBs and Leonard’s best showing since 2018, when he led the league with 163 total tackles and earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

The centerpiece of Indianapolis’ defense, Leonard offers considerable playmaking ability along with his tackling acumen. He has accrued 11 interceptions and 17 forced fumbles in his career, including four picks and an NFL-best eight FFs last season. His efforts landed him a five-year, $99.25MM extension last August, which made him the highest-paid off-ball ‘backer in league history in terms of AAV. Obviously, his health will be one of the Colts’ primary concerns heading into the 2022 season.

Joining Leonard on the PUP list are defensive end Tyquan Lewis, safety Rodney McLeod, and wideout Mike Strachan. DT Eric Johnson, a fifth-round rookie, is on the NFI list.

Colts Sign Kwity Paye, 4 Other Draft Picks

The Colts have jumped out to an early lead in draft pick signings. They agreed to terms with five draftees Thursday, including their top two picks — defensive linemen Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo.

Chosen 21st overall, Paye will be expected to play a key role for the Colts as a rookie. The team entered the draft with a significant edge rusher need, and the Michigan product was viewed as one of the top outside pressure artists available. Paye ranked as Scouts Inc.’s top pass-rushing prospect in this year’s draft, and for good reason. This was thanks in part to a 2019 campaign where the Michigan product finished with 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss.

While this was not viewed as a strong D-line draft class, the Colts have not re-signed Justin Houston and did not have a steady edge presence opposite him in 2020. The team doubled up at this position group to start the weekend. Chosen 54th overall out of Vanderbilt, Odeyingbo may profile as a player who operates both outside and inside — perhaps similar to Denico Autry, who departed for Tennessee in free agency. Odeyingbo, however, qualifies as a project. He may miss his rookie season, having suffered an Achilles’ tendon tear in January while training for the draft.

Only fourth-round pick Kylen Granson, a tight end, and former Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger (Round 6) are unsigned from Indianapolis’ draft class. Here are the Colts’ rookie signees thus far:

  • Kwity Paye, DE (Michigan, Round 1)
  • Dayo Odeyingbo, DL (Vanderbilt, Round 2)
  • Shawn Davis, S (Florida, Round 5)
  • Mike Strachan, WR (Charleston, W.V., Round 7)
  • Will Fries, OL (Penn State)