Nick Martin

Commanders To Sign C Nick Martin

In response to losing their staring center for the foreseeable future, the Commanders are making an addition at the position. Washington has reached agreement on a deal with veteran Nick Martinand will add him to the 53-man roster (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network). 

[RELATED: Commanders C Roullier Facing Extended Absence]

Martin, 29, was a second-round pick of the Texans in 2016, though he was sidelined until the 2017 campaign by an ankle injury. Throughout his four-year tenure in Houston, he started all 62 games he appeared in. He received middling overall PFF grades along the way, but was rated highly in pass protection in particular.

That earned him a three-year, $33MM extension in 2019. Despite remaining a starter after signing that deal, though, the Notre Dame alum was released in 2021. On the open market for the first time in his career, Martin joined the Raiders on a much less lucrative one-year contract that same offseason. Even in the absence of Rodney Hudson, Martin was unable to win the starting job, however, and played just seven offensive snaps during the campaign.

That resulted in a lengthy stay on the open market this summer, and a brief stint with the Saints. Martin was signed to New Orleans’ practice squad after roster cutdowns, but has since been released. He will look to return to playing form with Washington, something which will likely require some time given his status as a backup last season.

Martin will look to compete for the starting role vacated for, potentially, the entire season by Chase Roullier. The team’s list of internal replacement options is topped by fellow veteran Wes Schweitzer, who was reported yesterday to be the favorite to take over first-team pivot duties. He now has experienced competition to deal with, as the Commanders look to soften the blow of losing a key member of their offensive front.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/10/22

Today’s minor moves around the league, as teams prepare for the first Sunday slate of regular season games:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

The Cardinals’ moves come as a reaction to yesterday’s injury news. Baccellia’s roster spot was opened up in the short-term by the injury to Rondale Moore, but he won’t simply be a stop-gap. Arizona signed the 25-year-old to a two-year deal to remain on the main roster, per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network (Twitter link). A UDFA out of Washington, Baccellia has yet to make a regular season NFL appearance.

Likewise, the fact that Ford will miss at least the first four weeks of the season makes the re-acquisition of Garcia a logical one. The former fourth-rounder has plenty of guard experience, including his three seasons spent in Arizona. It was only in 2021 that he logged any starts, but he could provide veteran depth behind Justin Pugh at least until Ford is able to return.

Addison, 35, was one of several veteran signings the Texans made this offseason to add depth to their front seven. He had a productive season with the Bills last season, notching seven sacks despite not starting any games. In his absence, Harris and Pierre-Louis will provide depth in the edge rush department on Sunday, and likely the short-term future as well.

Quick reminder that standard game day practice squad promotions are a recent development from the new CBA and COVID-19 seasons. Essentially, each team is able to promote two players from the practice squad to the active roster for game days. The players will automatically revert back to the practice squad after the game, not needing to clear waivers before rejoining the developmental roster. A player can only be promoted three times per season. If a team would like to promote a player for a fourth game, they’ll need to go through the normal method of creating space on the 53-man roster to promote them and have them clear waivers before placing them back on the practice squad. That is the difference between “Signed to 53-man roster” from the practice squad and “Promoted from practice squad.”

Saints Cut Roster Down To 53

New Orleans got a head start on the deadline for roster cuts this weekend with several moves, but the team found its way to the 53-man limit today. Here are the moves the Saints made today to get there:

Released:

Waived:

Placed on reserve/injured:

Placed on reserve/suspended by commissioner:

The big story of the day for New Orleans was the trade this morning that sent defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to Philadelphia. The defensive back had pushed for an extension, staging a hold-in effort early in camp, but ultimately found himself on his way to Pennsylvania, paving the way for the Saints to hold onto six safeties. Safety Daniel Sorensen is on the roster for his special teams contributions, but Justin Evans will really be given a chance to contribute at safety in the absence of Gardner-Johnson.

Despite seeing fellow defensive tackle Huggins head to injured reserve, rookie sixth-round pick Jackson was unable to hold onto a roster spot, being the only member of the Saints’ rookie draft class who failed to do so. The offseason addition of Kentavius Street was likely the determining factor that left Jackson off the 53-man roster.

The team did see an undrafted free agent make the final roster as offensive lineman Lewis Kidd worked his way out of Montana State to make the Saints’ initial 53. He’ll serve as a depth piece on an offensive line with quite a few injury questions.

A position group that definitely looks improved on paper is the receiving corps who gets back Michael Thomas and added first-round pick Chris Olave and veteran Jarvis Landry in the offseason. These new targets will combine with the tight ends group, that includes swiss-army man Taysom Hill, as weapons for quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton.

Besides all the above, the team will look fairly similar in composition to last year’s. The running backs, special teams, defensive ends, and cornerbacks will look largely the same as the team heads into the 2022 NFL season. Where things could end up looking different is on the practice squad. After clearing waivers, many of the players above will have the opportunity to rejoin the Saints’ 16-man squad.

Saints Sign Malcolm Brown, Nick Martin

With an Alvin Kamara suspension in play for 2022, the Saints have been looking at veteran running backs. They added one to their mix Tuesday.

The Saints added former Rams and Dolphins back Malcolm Brown, doing so on a day in which they also signed center Nick Martin. The Brown addition comes after a fairly thorough look into the position this offseason, while Martin — after five years with the Texans and one with the Raiders — should be expected to compete for a backup job.

New Orleans brought in both Sony Michel and David Johnson this year, while also auditioning USFL Offensive Player of the Year Darius Victor. Johnson is believed to have come with too high a price tag for the Saints, per NFL.com’s Jane Slater (video link). The Michel workout also came just before the former Patriots and Rams starter signed with the Dolphins, who opted to let Brown walk as they transitioned to a new coaching staff.

Although Mark Ingram is positioned to be Kamara’s top backup, Slater adds the Saints would not plan to use the 33-year-old as a full-timer at this stage of his career. Brown coming in provides insurance, with a Kamara suspension — for a February brawl in Las Vegas that led to an arrest and a civil lawsuit — potentially coming down this season. A Kamara ban would obviously make a significant impact on the Saints’ offense, judging by how it looked last season when the Pro Bowl back missed time, but Brown does provide a potential upgrade alongside Ingram.

Brown, 29, suffered a quadriceps injury last season; he played just seven games during his short Dolphins tenure. While Brown rushed for just 125 yards in 2021, he gained 419 and scored five touchdowns as part of a 2020 Rams committee. The former Todd Gurley backup also held regular special teams roles in Los Angeles, giving him a potential boost to make New Orleans’ 53-man roster. The Saints also have veteran special-teamer Dwayne Washington, recent signing Devine Ozigbo and third-year back Tony Jones on their 90-man offseason roster.

Martin, also 29, worked as Houston’s full-time starting center from 2017-20, earning an extension in that time. Despite missing his entire rookie season, Martin has proven durable since. He has not missed a game since 2017, when he was sidelined for two, and has 62 career starts. The former second-round pick, however, did not start a game for the Raiders in 2021, and lingered in free agency for months. He joins Forrest Lamp and Josh Andrews as notable Saints interior O-line depth. The team’s inside trio of Andrus Peat, Erik McCoy and Cesar Ruiz is set.

The Saints also signed defensive end Scott Patchan and waived punter Daniel Whelan, offensive lineman Derek Schweiger and cornerback Jordan Miller on Tuesday.

OL Rumors: Raiders, 49ers, Giants, Solder, Eagles

The Raiders are tracking to have two starters from their 2020 Week 1 offensive line setup back, with Kolton Miller signed long-term and Richie Incognito back on a lower-cost deal. But spillover from another training camp battle may affect Incognito’s standing. Denzelle Good and John Simpson will vie for the starting right guard spot, but Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed of The Athletic note Raiders coaches have informed the team’s guards the loser of this competition may still wind up replacing Incognito at left guard (subscription required). Incognito, 38, played well in 2019 but missed 14 games due to an Achilles injury last season. The Raiders cut him in March but re-signed him weeks later on a one-year, $2.12MM deal. Good replaced Incognito last year, and the Raiders are hoping Simpson — a 2020 fourth-round pick out of Clemson — can win the right guard competition.

Here is more on the Raiders’ O-line and the latest from some other offensive fronts around the league:

  • Elsewhere on Las Vegas’ O-line, the center spot may not be much of a competition. Despite offseason addition Nick Martin having started four full seasons with the Texans, the former second-round pick appears to be clearly behind former UDFA Andre James, according to The Athletic. After trading Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson to the Cardinals, the Raiders gave James an extension. James has played 116 offensive snaps as a pro; all came in 2019.
  • Nate Solder has moved to the Giants‘ roster bubble, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. The 6-foot-8 veteran worked as New York’s starting left tackle in 2018 and ’19, after signing a then-record tackle contract in free agency, but opted out in 2020. The Giants can spread out Solder’s cap hit over multiple years, but they would face a $13.5MM cumulative dead-money charge by cutting Solder. Andrew Thomas has taken over as New York’s left tackle, with Raanan adding that Solder will compete with second-year blocker Matt Peart for the right tackle job. Solder has not been a full-time right tackle since his rookie season in 2011.
  • Although former UDFA Daniel Brunskill provided some stability amid 49ers injury chaos last season, starting 16 games, the team plans to return him to a utility role. The 49ers are eyeing second-round pick Aaron Banks as their starting right guard, Matt Barrows and David Lombardi of The Athletic note. Brunskill worked as a swing backup as a rookie in 2019, primarily filling in for left tackle Joe Staley. The 49ers selected Banks 48th overall; the 325-pound rookie started in part of his sophomore season and throughout his junior and senior years at Notre Dame.
  • Rather than stockpile depth at tackle, the Eagles may look to trade the loser of the Andre DillardJordan Mailata left tackle competition, Eliot Shorr-Parks writes. While keeping both would provide insurance, Shorr-Parks notes moving Mailata in a contract year would make sense and Dillard may lose more value if he goes through this season as a backup. A 2019 first-round pick, Dillard missed all of last season due to injury and has logged just four career starts. A rugby convert chosen as a project in the 2018 seventh round, Mailata spent two full seasons in development but broke into Philadelphia’s starting lineup for 10 games last season.

Raiders To Sign C Nick Martin

After trading their center of the past six years, the Raiders appear to have settled on a replacement. They are signing former Texans snapper Nick Martin, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Martin’s work will not remind most of Rodney Hudson‘s, with the since-traded center being a three-time Pro Bowler. Still, the Raiders figure to save substantially by replacing Hudson with Martin.

Transitioning to their Nick Caserio regime, the Texans cut Martin after he spent the past four seasons as their starting center. While he did not fare as well as Hudson did in this span, Martin did receive an $11MM-per-year extension from the previous Texans regime. Martin will attempt to rebound in Las Vegas.

The Raiders have made some interesting decisions this week. Their three highest-paid O-linemen — Hudson, right tackle Trent Brown and longtime right guard Gabe Jackson — are gone. The team has since re-signed Richie Incognito after cutting him, and brought back the player who replaced Incognito post-injury last season, Denzelle Good. Las Vegas appears to still have a hole at right tackle, but the other four spots along its offensive line may be set.

However, third-year blocker Andre James may factor into the equation at center. This should be considered James’ job to lose, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets. While Martin has a massive experience edge (62 starts to one), he might not be a lock to start in Vegas.

Texans Release C Nick Martin

The only center to start a Texans game during Deshaun Watson‘s career is now on the market. The Texans released Nick Martin on Friday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter). The move is now official.

A 2016 fifth-round pick, Martin missed his entire rookie season but established himself as Houston’s starting center a year later. In every game Watson played as a pro, Martin operated as his center. Martin will join Senio Kelemete as Texans O-linemen cut this week. The Texans also released Duke Johnson on Friday.

By releasing Martin, the Texans will save $6.25MM in cap space. The younger brother of Zack Martin, Nick was due a $7.25MM base salary in 2021 and was signed through the ’22 season. The Texans have moved up to north of $15MM in cap space.

The Texans gave Martin a three-year, $33MM extension ahead of the 2019 season. Going into Friday, that deal remained a top-five center contract. The Nick CaserioDavid Culley regime will now look for a new snapper. Whether the new center will snap to Watson in 2021 is certainly another story.

Pro Football Focus has never been especially high on Martin’s work, grading him as the league’s No. 29 center last season and never slotting him higher than 17th. Martin, however, has not missed a start since the 2017 season and remains in his prime. He will turn 28 this offseason.

South Notes: White, Newton, Julio, Jags

Devin White left Thursday night’s game before the lightning delay hit, but the rookie Buccaneers linebacker appears to have dodged a long-term injury. Bruce Arians said (via ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine) the No. 5 overall pick suffered a grade 1 MCL sprain. While it would seem White is in danger of at least missing the Bucs’ Week 3 game against the Giants, Arians would not rule out an immediate return.

Here is the latest from the South divisions, moving first to the Bucs’ Week 2 opponent:

  • Ron Rivera denied Cam Newton is experiencing issues with the foot he injured during preseason play or his surgically repaired shoulder. The Panthers have now lost two home games, and Newton has not played especially well in either. He completed 48% of his passes on Thursday and did not fare well against Bucs blitzes. Prior to Newton’s shoulder injury last season, he had the Panthers on track for another playoff berth and was on a better statistical run than his 2016 or ’17 slates. Now 0-2, the team will have an uphill battle to make it back to the postseason. The 30-year-old passer is signed through the 2020 season.
  • Nick Martin‘s three-year, $33MM Texans extension features fully guaranteed salaries ($6.1MM and $7.25MM) for the 2019 and ’20 seasons and a $5MM signing bonus, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. The Texans center’s 2021 and ’22 base salaries of $7.25MM and $7.75MM are non-guaranteed.
  • Julio Jones‘ three-year, $66MM Falcons extension came with $64MM in guarantees, which outpaces every other wide receiver’s deal by a staggering margin. Jones’ pact also could bump up to $72MM, with Joel Corry of CBS Sports tweeting the 30-year-old wideout’s deal has annual escalators. It’s not yet known what benchmarks Jones would have to hit to trigger those, however.
  • Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson has received clearance to make his season debut, but Doug Marrone said (via ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco, on Twitter) the third-year blocker will be held out against the Texans. It would appear Robinson, who is dealing with a different knee problem than to the ACL tear he suffered last season, will be on track to return to his post in Week 3. He has not played since September 2018. Due to a hamstring malady, Yannick Ngakoue is also out for the Jags this week.
  • The Texans worked out cornerbacks Jeremy Clark, Rodney Randle and D.J. White, per veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter). Houston made a cornerback roster swap this week, releasing Aaron Colvin and signing Phillip Gaines.

AFC South Rumors: Foles, Texans, Colts

The current plan for Nick Foles involves a return in November. The Jaguars‘ high-priced free agent addition is out until at least Week 11 due to the broken clavicle he suffered Sunday, and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) Foles is loosely targeting that week for his return. This would be welcome news for the Jaguars, but they will have to get through eight games without their experienced passer. Gardner Minshew fared well against the Chiefs, completing 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns, but he’s a sixth-round rookie. Jacksonville also traded a fifth-round pick for Josh Dobbs. These two represent the team’s quarterback options at this point.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • Another avenue the reeling Jags took in an attempt to patch up their quarterback solution post-Foles involved a Texans passer. The Jaguars contacted then-Texans practice squad QB Alex McGough, presumably offering a roster spot, this week, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. However, the Texans thwarted their division rival’s attempt by promoting McGough to their active roster. McGough now resides behind Deshaun Watson and A.J. McCarron.
  • Bill O’Brien called Nick Martin, who signed a three-year extension worth $33MM this week, “one of the leaders” of the Texans. “[Martin] is one of the leaders of our team, smart, tough, dependable,” the coach said (via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle). “Had to in the past deal with some injuries. Played good on Monday night, want him to be a Texan. We all felt like best move for Nick and our team.”
  • In extending Martin in advance of Week 2, the Texans deviated from recent regimes’ rule of no in-season extensions, Wilson notes. The GM-less franchise turned to senior VP of football administration Chris Olsen to finalize Martin’s deal. Previously, both Rick Smith and Brian Gaine avoided in-season re-ups.
  • Former Packers first-round pick Datone Jones remains on teams’ radars. The Colts worked out the defensive lineman this week. Jones has been on the in-week workout circuit for a bit now. He played in one Cowboys game last season and caught on with the Jaguars before camp. The 2013 first-rounder did not make the team but has now worked out for the Colts and Redskins this week.

Chris Crouse contributed to this report.

Texans Sign Nick Martin

The Texans have signed center Nick Martin to a three-year, $33M extension, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The pact includes $18.35MM guaranteed, giving Martin some solid security on the pact. 

Martin has been the Texans’ starting man in the middle since 2017. Initially, he was primed for a big role as a second-round rookie in 2016, but an ankle injury wiped out his would-be frosh season. Along the way, the Texans have considered moving him to guard, but he has remained the battery mate of quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Prior to this extension, Martin was set to reach the open market after the 2019 season. That ’19 year will remain in tact, but he’ll see a serious pay bump after he collects on his $1.1MM base and $418K prorated bonus. With an average of $11MM/year, Martin will become one of the five highest-paid centers in the NFL.

With Martin under center, the Texans suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Saints on Monday night. Next up, they’ll try to get to .500 when they face the Jaguars in Houston on Sunday.