Dean took the starting role the Eagles had in store for him in Week 1, but a foot injury interrupted his second NFL campaign. The 22-year-old was poised to return ahead of Sunday’s game by returning to practice earlier this week, though, and a first-team role is expected to await him upon suiting up. Dean taking on a heavy workload will relegate Nicholas Morrow (who was promoted from the practice squad) to backup duty despite the latter’s strong performances so far.
Seattle has seen fellow corners Devon Witherspoonand Riq Woolenenjoy considerable success, but the team’s secondary will be shorthanded without Bryant. The latter will miss at least the next four weeks as a result of the IR move as he recovers from a toe injury. The 2022 fourth-rounder, who has seen his defensive snap share jump from 65% to 77% this year, has not played since Week 2.
The Colts’ offensive line has been dealing with a couple injuries, so bringing in Boettger will help improve the line’s depth a bit. Boettger, a former undrafted free agent, spent the first five years of his career in Buffalo. He spent much of that time as a backup but did start 17 games in a two-year stretch from 2020-2022. Veteran starting experience is usually an asset worth having on the bench.
September 13th, 2023 at 10:16am CST by Sam Robinson
Noah Brown‘s Texans debut included three receptions, but the career-long Texas-based wideout will be shut down for a while. The Texans placed him on IR on Wednesday.
Hassan Ridgeway joins Brown on Houston’s IR list. The veteran defensive tackle, who followed DeMeco Ryans from San Francisco, suffered a calf injury in Week 1. A groin issue will send Brown to IR, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets.
This is familiar territory for Ridgeway, who finished last season on IR. The 49ers had used their eight injury activations, leaving Ridgeway on IR with a pectoral strain. Due to the NFL’s adjusted IR setup, neither Ridgeway nor Brown can return before Week 6.
After spending six seasons with the Cowboys, Brown signed a one-year deal worth $2.25MM to switch Texas teams in March. Houston gave Ridgeway a one-year, $3.25MM accord to join Jimmie Ward as a 49ers defender following Ryans. Both players worked as backups in the Texans’ season-opening loss to the Ravens. Ridgeway played 15 defensive snaps, while Brown saw extensive time on offense, logging 52 snaps. The latter caught three passes for 20 yards in C.J. Stroud‘s debut.
The Texans were without John Metchie to start their season as well. Returning after a leukemia diagnosis kept him off the field as a rookie, Metchie sustained a hamstring injury while preparing to debut. The Texans have Nico Collins, Robert Woods and rookies Tank Dell and Xavier Hutchinson as healthy options at receiver.
In addition to the IR moves, the Texans received a scare in their secondary Sunday. A collision with Lamar Jackson led to second-year safety Jalen Pitre being hospitalized with a bruised lung, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets. While the 2022 second-round pick was coughing up blood at one point, he has since been released from the hospital, per Wilson and Pelissero.
The Texans’ wide receiving corps was among the league’s worst last season, finishing 26th in combined receptions, 28th in receiving yards, and 28th in receiving touchdowns. Things aren’t looking any easier as the team’s top receivers from 2022, Brandin Cooks and Chris Moore, will find themselvesin different uniforms next season. Still, according to DJ Bien-Aime of ESPN, new head coach DeMeco Ryans appears to be fairly comfortable with how the position is currently lined up.
With veteran leader Cooks just up north in Dallas, Houston will be looking for a former division rival to lead their young group. Playing in another room bereft of star talent last year, Robert Woods looked like a shell of his former self in Nashville. Part of that may have had more to do with the scheme and personnel around him, as he still led the Titans in both receptions and receiving yards, but in 17 games, Woods failed to surpass his total from his final year in Los Angeles, when his season ended after only nine games. Still, Woods is not far removed from some of the best football of his career. Just two years ago, a torn ACL prevented Woods from extending a streak of three consecutive seasons with over 900 receiving yards. From 2018-2020, Woods was dominant with the Rams combining for 3,289 receiving yards and 14 receiving touchdowns, even adding 427 yards and four more scores on the ground.
After the experience of Woods, the Texans will rely on the familiarity of third-year wideout Nico Collins. Collins was fourth on the team in receiving last year behind Cooks, Moore, and tight end Jordan Akins despite putting up similar numbers that had him ranked second on the team as a rookie the year prior. The team hopes he can progress past those numbers in Year 3. He doesn’t need to suddenly become a No. 1 receiver with Woods in town, but Houston will want him to surpass his careers-highs last year of 37 receptions, 481 yards, and two touchdowns.
Rounding out the potential starting three is last year’s second-round pick John Metchie III. Metchie is still waiting to make his NFL debut after sitting out his rookie year after being diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. The young receiver is now over a year and a half removed from his last meaningful snap of football and has worked his way back from a torn ACL, leukemia, and now a hamstring strain in order to play in the NFL.
Beyond those three, the team’s depth fades quickly. Former Cowboys receiver Noah Brownjoins the group after a breakout year in Dallas. Brown performed as a No. 2 receiver for Dallas last year, gaining career-highs in receptions (43), receiving yards (555), and touchdowns (3), after combining for 39 catches for 425 yards and no touchdowns in the four years prior.
After Brown, the team’s depth is unproven. Amari Rodgers returns after starting one game in six appearances last year. Two rookies join him as depth pieces in the receivers room. Nathaniel Dell was drafted in the third-round out of Houston. Dell was dominant for the Cougars as an undersized wide receiver, catching a combined 199 passes for 2,727 yards and 29 touchdowns in his final two collegiate seasons. In the sixth-round, the team added Iowa State’s Xavier Hutchinson, who delivered strong performances in all three years as a Cyclone before bringing his best football last year.
“I’m not concerned with where we are with our wide receivers,” Ryans claimed. “I like our group. I like where we are. We have a lot of talented guys and have a lot of different qualities.”
He’s certainly not wrong there. Collins provides the team with a big, 6-foot-4 body and strong hands. Brown and Hutchinson also bring the group ideal body-types for a wide receiver. Woods and Metchie both sit around six-foot and bring completely different playing styles to the offense. Finally, Dell and Rodgers bring explosiveness in smaller packages.
Ryans can certainly back up his claim of confidence in covering the gamut of receiver-types, but experience remains a concern. On paper, the Texans’ wide receiving corps is ready to provide rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud with an assortment of weapons. In reality, the team will need young players to step up into big roles quickly in 2023 if they’re going to prove wrong position rankings from ESPN’s Bill Barnwell and Pro Football Focus’s Trevor Sikkema, both of whom have the team’s group ranked last in the league.
The Brandin Cooks trade domino dropped Sunday morning, leaving DeAndre Hopkins as the only clear-cut impact receiver trade chip available. The Cardinals continue to shop the 11th-year veteran, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes talks are ramping up (Twitter link). Hopkins is amenable to adjusting his contract to facilitate a deal, and Rapoport adds an adjusted contract is likely. As is, Hopkins’ through-2024 contract calls for a $19.45MM base salary this season. That will likely be untenable to interested teams.
Staying on the Hopkins front, here is the latest from the receiver scene:
The Browns are not believed to be interested in reuniting Hopkins with Deshaun Watson, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports tweets. Cleveland has a big contract at receiver (Amari Cooper‘s) already, though the team could benefit from a veteran presence alongside its No. 1 target. The Browns did host Marquise Goodwin on a visit that has spanned from Monday to today, Anderson adds (on Twitter). Goodwin spent last season with the Seahawks, catching 27 passes for 387 yards and four touchdowns. The former Olympic long jumper is going into his age-33 season.
Darius Slayton is back with the Giants, re-signing on a two-year deal worth $12MM. That contract includes $4.9MM guaranteed, The Athletic’s Dan Duggan tweets. This can be treated more like a one-year deal; the Giants can save $6MM by cutting Slayton in 2024. That said, Slayton said (via the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy) he received other offers in free agency. The Giants, despite burying him on their initial 2022 depth chart and cutting his pay, reached out early and will have the former fifth-round pick back in the fold. The team’s improvement last season helped convince Slayton to stay.
A year after he signed for the exact terms Slayton reached (with the Jets), Braxton Berriosis now in Miami. The ex-Hurricanes receiver agreed to terms with the Dolphins on what KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes is a one-year, $3.5MM pact (Twitter link). Berrios will receive $3MM guaranteed, giving him a good chance of being part of the Dolphins’ 53-man roster. The Dolphins still have Cedrick Wilson and brought back River Cracraft and Freddie Swain last week.
Noah Brown‘s one-year Texansdeal is worth $2.6MM, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The longtime Cowboys wideout received $2.25MM guaranteed and can add an additional $500K through incentives.
Addressing his season-long gambling suspension recently, Calvin Ridley said he deposited $1,500 into an unspecified betting app and, after making approximately $200 worth of NBA bets, he included the Falcons in a parlay. Denying he had inside information, Ridley said (via a piece on The Players’ Tribune) he had been away from the Falcons for a month, was not talking to anyone on the team and made the bet to root for his teammates. Regarding Ridley’s midseason Falcons exit in 2021, the former first-round pick said he was dealing with depression and anxiety. Ridley said he played most of the 2020 season (a career-high 1,374-yard slate) on a broken foot, but he was not informed of the break until June 2021. He underwent surgery, which was described as a minor procedure, but said he was not close to 100% by Week 1. This and Ridley’s house being robbed on that Week 1 Sunday intensified his anxiety. The NFL reinstated Ridley, now with the Jaguars, earlier this month.
This will be an intrastate relocation for the seventh-year veteran, who has spent his entire career with the Cowboys. Brown will leave Dallas for a one-year contract in Houston. The 225-pound wideout is coming off a career year and will be part of an evolving Texans wide receiver puzzle, one that is unlikely to include enduring trade candidate Brandin Cooks.
As the Cowboys waited on Michael Gallup and James Washington to return from injuries, and attempted to develop third-round pick Jalen Tolbert, Brown served as their top CeeDee Lamb complement for an extended stretch. Brown finished the season with 43 catches for 555 yards and three touchdowns. That number was second-best, by a wide margin, for Cowboys wide receivers last season. Brown had previously never topped the 200-yard mark in a season, and the Texans will pay a bit to see if Brown can replicate his performance.
Serving as one of the Cowboys’ top special-teamers over the past six seasons, Brown saw his responsibilities diminish here as his receiving role expanded. Brown, 26, saw action on at least 47% of the Cowboys’ special teams plays from 2018-21. His three receiving TDs last season were the first of his career.
This will likely be a low- to mid-level accord with the Texans, who are still sorting out their receiver situation. Cooks has held a standing trade request since before last year’s trade deadline, though that went on hold for a few months with trades not part of the late-season equation, and the Texans are planning to accommodate him. Cooks and DeAndre Hopkins remain the top wideout trade chips, though it is worth monitoring the Broncos’ receiver situation.
The Texans now have Woods, Brown and Nico Collins in place as experienced receivers. They also are readying for 2022 second-round pick John Metchie‘s debut. The Alabama product is expected to play for the Texans this season, after seeing his would-be rookie year interrupted by a leukemia diagnosis.
Brown, a 2017 seventh-round draft pick, has been a special teams regular for Dallas. Last year, however, he reeled in 16 catches for 184 yards while playing on 302 snaps. That accounts for roughly half of his career production — 39 catches and 425 yards.
It’s possible that Brown will see more offensive action going forward, especially since Amari Cooper is on his way out. The Cowboys are set to either trade or release their one-time star, though the trade market is looking fairly soft at the moment. Cutting Cooper would save the Cowboys $16MM in cap room while adding a four-time Pro Bowler to this year’s free agent class. Despite this year’s hiccups, he’s not far removed from his strong 2019 (79 catches for 1,189 receiving yards and eight touchdowns) or his still solid follow-up in 2020 (92 grabs, 1,114 yards, and five scores).
Meanwhile, the Cowboys are keeping tight end via the tag and working to re-up wide receiver Michael Gallup in advance of free agency.
In the second quarter of today’s game against the Cardinals, Cowboys’ wide receiver Michael Gallup injured his knee while pirouetting back to the ball on a catch that resulted in a touchdown as he fell into the end zone. Upon landing, the 25-year old out of Colorado State immediately reached for his knee. Local Cowboys reporter Michael Gehlken was quick to tweet out a statement from team owner Jerry Jones after the game that Dallas believes Gallup has torn his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. Gallup will undergo an MRI exam on Monday to confirm the early diagnosis.
Gallup missed 8 weeks earlier in the season when he was placed on IR after straining his left calf in the Cowboys’ Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay. Since rejoining the team in Week 10, Gallup quickly regained his position as WR3, behind CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper. He was looking to play a crucial role in the league’s top offense, in terms of yards per game, as they roll into the playoffs. Dallas will rely on Boise State product Cedrick Wilson to fill the empty role, as they did during Gallup’s IR stint. Behind Wilson, reserve receivers Noah Brown, Malik Turner, and Simi Fehoko have spent time on the active roster, but haven’t shown much in terms of production.
This is unfortunate timing for Gallup as he will go into the offseason as a free agent. On the bright side, Gallup has given the league a strong sample of his work in previous years. In 2019, Gallup caught 66 balls for 1,107 yards and 6 touchdowns despite only playing in 14 games. Last year, despite competing with Cooper and Lamb for targets, Gallup still recorded 59 catches for 843 yards and 5 touchdowns. He showed similar yardage per game in his limited time this year. It looks like, due to an unfortunately timed injury, someone in the league will probably get a good deal on a solid starting receiver.