Mikel Leshoure

Minor NFL Transactions: 2/5/16

The NFL offseason hasn’t yet officially begun, but clubs are still making small moves as they wait for the beginning of the new league year. Let’s dive into the latest:

  • The Buccaneers have signed four players to reserve/futures deals, inking defensive tackle Davon Coleman, defensive tackle Cliff Matthews, defensive end Jermauria Rasco, and receiver Bernard Reedy, the club announced. Matthews, 26, has the most experience of the bunch, having played in 32 games over the past three seasons with the Falcons (former Atlanta head coach Mike Smith, notably, is Tampa Bay’s new defensive coordinator).
  • Former Lions running back Mikel Leshoure is back in professional football, but it’s with the CFL as opposed to the NFL. The 25-year-old Leshoure has signed with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League, reports Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (link). A former second-round pick, Leshoure’s best season came in 2012, when he ran for nearly 800 yards and nine touchdowns with Detroit.

Free Agent Rumors: Gilchrist, Morgan, Robinson

Running backs Felix Jones, Michael Bush, and Mikel Leshoure are among the players scheduled to participate in the NFL’s veteran combine later this month, tweets Mark Maske of the Washington Post. The Arizona Republic has the full list of combine participants. Here’s more from around the NFL..

  • The Jets are in contract talks with free agent safety Marcus Gilchrist, a source tells Darryl Slater of the Star-Ledger. Gilchrist arrived Tuesday for a free agency visit with the Jets that has continued into Wednesday, as scheduled. Gilchrist, 26, has spent his entire career with the Chargers, who drafted him in the second round in 2011.
  • The Titans remain in the mix to sign Derrick Morgan despite his free agent visits and apparent interest from the Cowboys, Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com tweets. They’re also still working to re-sign kicker Ryan Succop.
  • Free agent cornerback Patrick Robinson has received some interest from the Vikings, Dolphins, Saints, Steelers, and Panthers, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Vikings have touched base with free agent cornerback Tramon Williams, a source tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link) hears the same thing, but his source says it doesn’t sound “very serious.”
  • Linebacker Andrew Gachkar‘s anticipated visit to the Vikings is on hold as of right now due to what a source only will say is related to “some issues right now,” Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press tweets.
  • New Jaguars defensive lineman Jared Odrick told reporters, including Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (Twitter links), that “tons of teams” went after him. The Colts and Chiefs, he said, were among the teams chasing him.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Workout Notes: Colts, Jaguars, Browns, Broncos

In our roundup of several AFC East and NFC East items this morning, we passed along word on a handful of free agents who recently worked out for East teams. Across the rest of the league, several more auditions took place, so we’ll take a look at all those updates right here. All links are from Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, and go to Twitter:

  • The Colts brought in a few notable free agents for tryouts, taking a look at running back Mikel Leshoure, ex-Jets cornerback Ellis Lankster, and former LSU wideout Kadron Boone. Of the three players, Leshoure is the most interesting name, considering Indianapolis is believed to be considering adding running back depth.
  • Linebacker A.J. Edds ultimately signed with the Jaguars, joining the team’s active roster yesterday, but Edds also worked out for the Bengals earlier in the week. Additionally, Jacksonville auditioned veteran linebacker Victor Butler before deciding on Edds.
  • Browns kicker Billy Cundiff has had his ups and downs this season, missing six field goals, including three from less than 40 yards. While I don’t expect Cleveland to replace him, the team did take a look at a couple other kickers this week, bringing in Michael Barnard and Zach Hocker.
  • The Broncos worked out an extensive list of players this week, and Wilson has all the previously-unreported names: Rodney Barnes (S), Deion Belue (CB), Kenny Horsley (DE), M.D. Jennings (S), Vernon Kearney (CB), Keon Lyn (CB), Leon Mackey (DL), Ross Madison (S), and Danny Mason (LB).
  • In addition to trying out wideout Jace Davis, who signed with their practice squad, the Texans auditioned quarterback Brad Sorensen and several other receivers, including Rashad Ross, Willie Snead, and former Niner Kyle Williams.
  • Former Cardinals defensive end Ronald Talley worked out for the Chiefs. Talley spent some time with the Buccaneers earlier this year, but was removed from the roster prior to the regular season.
  • The Packers tried out cornerback Lavelle Westbrooks, a 2014 seventh-round pick waived by the Bengals during the preseason.
  • Tight end Xavier Grimble, who hit the open market once again last week after a brief stint with the Patriots’ practice squad, worked out for the Panthers.

Workout Notes: Tuesday

We’ll keep track of today’s workouts and visits here..

  • The Colts worked out notable kick returner Josh Cribbs, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Cribbs is the NFL’s all-time co-leader in kickoff returns for touchdowns with eight.
  • The Titans worked out former Packers first round pick Derek Sherrod, Yates tweets. The offensive tackle was cut by the Packers late last month.
  • The Panthers also auditioned Sherrod and Kevin Greene, Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post tweets.
  • Defensive tackle Fred Evans tried out for the Seahawks, according to Howard Balzer of USA Today (on Twitter).
  • The Saints tried out safeties M.D. Jennings and Kenny Phillips, according to Balzer (on Twitter). Jamarca Sanford was signed earlier today, so Jennings and Phillips probably won’t be coming to New Orleans.
  • The Saints also auditioned running backs Andre Brown, Tim Hightower, Mikel LeShoure, and Rutgers alum Brian Leonard, according to Yates (via Mike Triplett on Twitter).
  • The Packers looked at defensive tackle Kenny Horsley, safety Kimario McFadden, and linebacker Chaz Sutton, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Falcons are working out former Utah State center Tyler Larsen today, a league source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (on Twitter).
  • The Dolphins worked out Jonte Green, Wilson tweets.
  • The Seahawks worked out running backs Johri Fogerson, Stanley Havili, and Karl Williams, Wilson tweets.
  • The Titans worked out tight end Dorin Dickerson today, Wilson tweets. The Titans removed him from the IR with an injury settlement in August.

Workout Notes: Bengals, Saints, Lions, Bucs

As teams around the league assess themselves during the early part of the week, we’ll learn about the latest tryouts as clubs try to remake the back ends of their rosters. We’ll keep track of today’s audition notes here:

Earlier updates:

  • The Bengals worked out tight end Michael Egnew, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link). Egnew, a third-round pick in 2012, has spent time with the Dolphins, Lions, and Jaguars. Cincinnati also brought in defensive back Josh Victorian, who was dropped from the Lions’ practice squad in early October, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • With fullback Austin Johnson nursing a knee injury, the Saints auditioned fellow FBs Michael Zordich and Ray Agnew, per Caplan (on Twitter). New Orleans also tried out ex-Washington safety Bacarri Rambo, who started three games last season, tweets Caplan. Wilson passes along a few more names (on Twitter), noting that the club brought in defensive backs Malcolm Bronson, Stan McKay, and Brandon Taylor, and running back Toben Opurum.
  • The Lions worked out cornerbacks Trevin Wade and Robert Steeples, says Wilson (Twitter link). The duo worked out for the Panthers a few weeks ago.
  • The Buccaneers auditioned linebacker Jeremy Grable, per Wilson (via Twitter). Grable was on Tampa Bay’s roster over the summer.
  • Offensive lineman Maurice Hurt is one of 15 players whom Washington is trying out today, according to John Keim of ESPN.com (on Twitter). We should learn the names of the other participants shortly.

Broncos Auditioned Leshoure, Stephens-Howling

In the wake of Montee Ball suffering a strained groin, the Broncos took a look at several veteran running backs today, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Klis tweets that Mikel Leshoure and LaRod Stephens-Howling were among the players working out for the team, but the Broncos opted not to sign anyone.

With Ball out, the Broncos figure to hand over the biggest share of the workload to Ronnie Hillman, though C.J. Anderson and Juwan Thompson should also get a few reps. While the Broncos have yet to use the designation to return on their injured reserve list, Ball isn’t really a candidate for that spot, given his projected recovery timetable. As such, if the Broncos wanted to sign another running back without losing any of their current options, they’d be carrying five for the next few weeks, which may not be the best use of roster space.

AFC Notes: Gordon, Leshoure, Brown, Reed

Amid reports that Josh Gordon‘s suspension could possibly be reduced pending a new drug policy agreement, the Browns receiver has found new employment that has nothing to do with the NFL. According to Josina Anderson of ESPN (via TwitLonger), Gordon has accepted a position with the Sarchione Auto Group in northeast Ohio. He’ll act as both an on-floor salesman and as head of the group’s local outreach projects. While it’s nice to hear that the troubled 23-year-old has found some form of structure, I’m sure Gordon is hoping he can return to the field before 2015. Let’s look at some more news from the AFC.

  • The Lions released 2011 second-rounder Mikel Leshoure over the weekend, but the 24-year-old running back could soon find a new team, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free-Press reports (on Twitter) that Leshoure has scheduled a visit with the Colts. Given Trent Richardson‘s 2013 struggles and Ahmad Bradshaw‘s injury history, Indianapolis would do well to add a player with Leshoure’s pedigree.
  • After the league announced Andre Brown‘s eight-game suspension today, our Luke Adams wondered if the Texans had known the ban was coming, and if that knowledge precipitated the running back’s release earlier this month. According to Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Houston was aware of Brown’s impending suspension — in fact, the Texans thought he might be suspended for even longer than a half-season.
  • Texans linebacker Brooks Reed, entering the final year of his contract, worked out with teammate J.J. Watt during the offseason, and he’s hoping the extra effort will lead to a new deal with the club, writes John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “Yeah, I better get 20 sacks,” said Reed, laughing. “It’s my last year, and I expect — as do my coaches — to improve on the years I’ve had here. I put a lot into the offseason. I trained very hard. Hopefully, it’ll work out for the best.”
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap breaks down the full details of Alex Smith‘s contract extension with the Chiefs.
  • The Raiders have reached a $1.25MM settlement with 90 cheerleaders who argued that the team violated labor laws by refusing to pay minimum wage and failing to pay for business expenses, according to Robin Abcarian of the Los Angeles Times.

Lions Release Leshoure, Roster To 53

2:50pm: The Lions have announced their remaining cuts, per Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com. In addition to the players listed below, the following players have been let go:

1:45pm: The Lions have let go of one of Matthew Stafford‘s favorite targets, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports (via Twitter) that the team has released wideout Kris Durham.

The 26-year-old finished 2013 with career-highs in receptions (38) and yards (490). He also led all of the Lions offensive skill players in snaps, even topping All-Pro Calvin Johnson.

The Lions weren’t done there, as they released an additional six players:

11:40am: The Lions’ starting running back from 2012 is no longer on the roster, as the team informed Mikel Leshoure today that he’s being waived as the 53-man cutdown deadline nears, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. While the move leaves a little dead money on Detroit’s cap, the team avoids having to pay the running back his non-guaranteed base salary for 2014.

Leshoure wasn’t the only veteran among the Lions’ cuts today. Here’s the complete running list:

Lions Notes: Suh, Leshoure, Lawson

Lions All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was identified by the league as one of 21 “at-risk” players who have “teetered on the boundaries of the league’s new way of doing on-field business,” reports NFL.com’s Albert Breer. As a result, NFL executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent is seeking out the 21 players to address the issue directly. “There’s been pushback, and some anger,” says Breer, but in Suh’s case, Vincent was encouraged by their in-person sit-down.

“He was very receptive, he understood, he cared about the perception, his reputation, and I told him we’re not trying to take the edge he plays with away,” Vincent said. “I said, ‘We’ve seen you adjust, we’ve seen an adjustment in your play, let’s keep that going.’ … We met for hours, talking about the example he sets, the role model he’s become, and emphasizing his adjustment. What he did was set the bar with his approach, since he was first.” 

That news will probably be met with a collective eye roll from opposing players and fans who have grown tired of Suh’s lip service, but all eyes will be on him to see if he cleans up his act under a new coaching staff expected to incorporate more discipline than Jim Schwartz’s teams exhibited.

Here’s a few more Lions news and notes:

      • Running back Mikel Leshoure was a second-round pick in 2012, but he’s fourth on the Lions’ depth chart as the preseason kicks off, writes Mlive.com’s Kyle Meinke. However, people around the team seem to think that’s more a reflection of the team’s depth at the position rather than Leshoure underachieving. Even though new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi comes from New Orleans, where the Saints used a stable of capable runners, it’s difficult to envision the Lions carrying Leshoure as a projected inactive or severing ties, particularly if he has trade value, as Meinke’s Mlive colleague Justin Rogers suggests. “Mikel Leshoure still looks the part of a former second-round pick,” says Rogers. “The fourth-year running back has the size, speed and strength teams covet in the backfield, but it’s increasingly clear he’ll struggle to see the field in Detroit…Leshoure has looked good during the early stages of training camp and has been rewarded with plenty of reps with the first-team offense. But no matter how much work he gets and how well he practices, it’s difficult seeing a role for Leshoure without an injury to another player.”
      • “An area of concern for Detroit at this point might be Ezekiel Ansah,” says ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. Ansah (shoulder) is still on the active physically unable to perform list, and while he’s been working on the side with trainers, Rothstein wonders how far behind he’s falling physically and/or mentally, especially with the team implementing a new scheme.
      • Fourth-rounder Nevin Lawson isn’t expected to have a major impact this season, but he’s in an enviable position to learn and grow, according to Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji, who points out that the rookie stands to benefit from practice reps against Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate and tutelage from Rashean Mathis. With the Lions adding Drayton Florence to the mix, Lawson will likely begin the year fifth on the depth chart, as the team is willing to take a patient approach with his development.
      • It looks as if veteran Kevin Ogletree is establishing himself as the No. 3 receiver, says Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez in the Detroit Free Press.

Lions Notes: Fairley, Houston, Suh, Leshoure

The big news out of Detroit yesterday was the team’s decision to postpone extension negotiations with star defender Ndamukong Suh until after the 2014 season. Despite the added uncertainty at the defensive tackle position now that contract talks with Suh have been tabled, the Lions don’t regret their decision to decline Nick Fairley‘s option for 2015, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes.

“Two totally different situations, two totally different players,” said general manager Martin Mayhew. “Neither one affects the other. They play the same position, that’s the only similarity between the two of them.”

Here’s more on the Lions:

  • Mayhew tells Birkett that the Lions are “shopping for everything,” and are always talking to people around the league about possible trades or ways to upgrade their roster. The GM specifically identified the secondary as “a place we need to look.”
  • As Birkett tweets, the Lions believe that Chris Houston, whom the team released earlier this offseason, is probably done, or at least won’t recapture his previous form, due to health issues. In the Free Press piece linked above, Mayhew acknowledges that the Lions could have approached the offseason differently if they’d known the extent of Houston’s health issues earlier.
  • Birkett and John Niyo of the Detroit News both recapped the Suh developments from yesterday, conveying the idea that the Lions remain optimistic about getting a deal done, despite not being able to guarantee that the standout defensive tackle won’t hit the open market in March.
  • Having slid down the team’s running back depth chart in recent years, Mikel Leshoure was asked on Monday if he’d prefer to move on if he isn’t getting regular touches for the Lions. “I feel like I’ll get a role somewhere,” LeShoure said, suggesting that could happen in Detroit or elsewhere. “So I’m going to think about that right now“(link via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com).