Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These Bengals, Browns, Ravens and Steelers moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
The Rams are leaning towards addressing the Sammy Watkins void internally, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com tweets. Without last year’s No. 1 wide receiver, the Rams are eyeing bigger roles for Josh Reynolds and Mike Thomas. However, they’ll continue to monitor the market.
Often times, the second wave of free agency leads to veteran bargains for teams. The Rams are comfortable with what they have, but they’ll be keeping a watchful eye on players who encounter underwhelming markets. Some of the top names still on the market include Jordy Nelson, Terrelle Pryor, Eric Decker and Mike Wallace.
Along with losing Watkins in free agency, the Rams also parted ways with Tavon Austin. They’ll have Cooper Kupp and Pharoh Cooper as well to return with incumbent starter Robert Woods. Kupp led all of the team’s wide receivers last year with 62 catches for 869 yards receiving. Watkins led the team’s receivers with eight touchdown catches.
Reynolds and Thomas played in limited roles last season, combining to catch 16 passes. Reynolds was the only of the two to haul in a touchdown pass. Reynolds was a fourth-round pick in last year’s draft and Thomas was a sixth-round selection by the Rams in 2016. Kupp led the team in targets last year (94) and Woods was targeted 85 times compared to 70 for Watkins, despite playing in three fewer games.
It’s clear the Rams placed a higher priority on addressing their secondary this offseason while trusting in a group of in-house young wide receivers to work with Jared Goff, along with running back Todd Gurley. They’ve already traded for Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib and placed their franchise tag on Lamarcus Joyner rather than Watkins.
Thomas, a sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft, was suspended four games for violating the league’s PED policy. A favorite of many in the draft community, Thomas managed only three receptions in 15 games during his rookie campaign, but also contributed on special teams. He joins a wide receiver group that also includes Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Tavon Austin.