Raekwon McMillan

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/26/22

Today’s minor NFL transactions, including a handful of notable names landing on the physically unable to perform list and the non-football injury list as teams open up camp:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

  • Released with NFI designation: WR Cody Core

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Patriots Place Five Players On PUP

The Patriots placed a long list of players on the physically unable to perform list today. Per ESPN’s Mike Reiss on Twitter, New England placed center David Andrews, cornerback Jonathan Jones, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, safety Jabrill Peppers, and running back James White on PUP. The players are able to return to practice at any time, but they’ll be watching from the sideline until they’re officially activated.

Jones is still rehabbing a shoulder injury that limited him to only six games in 2021, while Andrews is recovering from his own shoulder surgery. White was limited to only three games last season thanks to a hip issue, and it sounds like the injury is lingering into this year’s training camp. Peppers and McMillan are both returning from ACL injuries.

White is one of the most veteran players on the Patriots roster, and in an ideal world, the running back would serve as a pass-catching safety blanket for Mac Jones. Between the 2016 and 2019 campaign, White averaged 68.8 catches and 950 yards from scrimmage per season. Now 30, this injury could spell the beginning of the end for White, and with Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson requiring carries (plus rookie fourth-round pick Pierre Strong Jr.), it’s hard to really see a role for White even if he’s healthy.

Andrews is also one of the longest-tenured Patriots players, having appeared in 89 games across seven seasons with the organization (including a 2019 campaign that he missed due to a pulmonary embolism). Despite the 2021 season being Andrews’ age-30 season, he still proved he was one of the best centers in the NFL, with Pro Football Focus ranking him fifth among 39 eligible centers.

McMillan joined the Patriots last offseason, but he tore his ACL in August and missed the entire season. Peppers, a former first-round pick, spent the past three seasons with the Giants. He collected 29 tackles and one sack in six games before suffering a torn ACL in October. Jones has spent his entire six-year career in New England, starting 27 games (including 21 starts between 2018 and 2020). He collected 20 tackles and three passes defended in six games last season.

Latest On Patriots’ LB Competition

Inside linebacker has been the source of plenty of roster turnover this offseason in New England. The team has seen a number of veterans depart recently, leaving them with much uncertainty amongst their current options at the position. 

The losses of Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy left the Patriots with a significant number of snaps to fill in the middle of their defense. That made LB as a position many expected would be a draft target for New England; however, they elected not to add rookies with any of their selections, and even declined to sign any UDFAs to add competition for roster spots.

[RELATED: Patriots Open To Hightower Return?]

As a result, the team is using the offseason to re-order its new depth chart at the position. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports that Raekwon McMillan has been one of the “top” linebackers in practice, taking starter’s reps alongside Ja’Whaun Bentley. The former signed with New England after brief stints with the Dolphins and Raiders. A torn ACL – already the second of his career – prevented him from seeing the field this past campaign. New England still extended him, though, paving the way for what could be a significant role in 2022.

Other linebackers slated for notable playing time include Mack Wilson, whom the Patriots acquired in a trade with the Browns during the early stages of free agency. He has rotated amongst McMillan and Bentley, seeing time with Josh Uche. Where the latter (a 2020 second-rounder drafted as a pass-rusher) lines up will remain a key storyline into the summer. Reiss notes that Uche’s precise fit in the LB corps “looks like a moving target,” given his usage in spring practices.

A veteran addition would come as little surprise at this point, given New England’s lack of known commodities at linebacker. If they elect to maintain the status quo, however, the position could provide one of the most intriguing training camp competitions on the roster.

Patriots Rumors: Injury Updates, Zappe, Perkins

The Patriots released some practice photos recently and, according to Zack Cox of NESN, some of the pictures seem to indicate the much anticipated returns of several previously-injured Patriots. These players included running back James White, cornerback Jonathan Jones, tight end Dalton Keene, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, and linebacker Anfernee Jennings.

White suffered a hip injury last year that required surgery serious enough to end his season and leave him bedridden for months. He hasn’t been fully cleared to return, but seeing him active on the field bodes well for his recovery.

Jones had surgery to repair his shoulder in October and missed the remainder of the season in recovery. McMillan tore his ACL before the season started, but impressed in his limited time before the injury. Keene and Jennings were both placed on injured reserve in August and missed the entire season as a result.

Here are a few other rumors from New England:

  • New England turned some heads on Day 3 of the Draft when they selected quarterback Bailey Zappe in the fourth round. At a point in the Draft where some teams normally address their positional needs, the Patriots selected a quarterback in the first draft after rookie passer Mac Jones led them to the playoffs. For an explanation, ESPN’s Mike Reiss pointed to a discussion with analysts Todd McShay and Louis Riddick, in which they cover “how it can be good business to draft and develop quarterbacks.” He also quotes former NFL general manger Randy Mueller who applauded the pick, saying that he would rather draft for value over need at that point in the Draft.
  • After not appearing in any regular season games last season, second-year Patriots outside linebacker Ronnie Perkins is ready to take the next step, according to Reiss. Perkins was buried on the depth chart behind Kyle Van Noy, now with the Chargers, and Jamie Collins, now a free agent. The departure of Van Noy and Collins leaves a hole opposite Pro Bowl pass rusher Matt Judon and Reiss reports that New England coaches are confident Perkins is getting ready to step up.

Latest On Patriots’ Offseason Priorities

The post-Tom Brady era in New England has seen plenty of change both in terms of players and coaching personnel. As ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes, the Patriots have a number of important decisions to make on their roster, leaving them with a relatively clearly-defined list of positional priorities. 

Reiss lists inside linebacker, cornerback and wide receiver – in that order – as the three positions that should be the primary focus this offseason. The incumbent starters at the first on that list, Dont’a Hightower and Ja’Whaun Bentley, are pending free agents, while Raekwon McMillan is coming off of a torn ACL. The position is the one on defense where the overall need to get younger and faster is perhaps the greatest, so youth could very well be preferred to experience there.

The same could hold true at cornerback, where the team likely faces its most important decision. J.C. Jackson is a pending free agent, and could be in line for a large payday. In the last two seasons, the 26-year-old has totalled 17 interceptions and 37 pass breakups. In coverage, he hasn’t allowed a completion percentage above 59% or a passer rating over 66.5 in his four years with New England. His play after Stephon Gilmore was traded to Carolina proved his value to the Patriots, or any number of free agent suitors.

The Patriots may be well positioned to replace the Pro Bowler, or add some vital depth behind him if he is retained, via the draft. As Reiss notes, cornerback is considered one of the strongest positions in this year’s class, so an impactful addition could be made in April. The team will likely be looking to do the same with their wide receivers.

The signings of Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne have added experience and depth to the Patriots’ pass-catching core, but, as Reiss writes, the addition of a true No. 1 “would be ideal”. New England was reportedly close to signing Odell Beckham Jr. before he ultimately went to L.A.; adding someone of his caliber, along with increased production from 2021 free agent signing tight end Jonnu Smith would go a long way in quarterback Mac Jones‘ development. Pending restricted free agent Jakobi Meyers, meanwhile, is likely to receive an extension, or at least a second-round tender, according to Reiss.

With plenty of questions surrounding the team’s coaching staff – and, to a lesser extent, the front office – the moves New England makes with their free agents will dictate much of their success in attempting to return to Super Bowl contention.

AFC East Notes: Maye, Bills, Dolphins, Pats

Playing on the franchise tag, Marcus Maye continues to be viewed as on the way out for the Jets. Whether his exit will come via deadline trade or in free agency next year remains to be seen, but Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes there is interest in the fifth-year safety ahead of the Nov. 2 deadline. While Maye’s $10.6MM franchise tag salary is prohibitive, he is a fifth-year starter who could be an impact rental player. A team acquiring Maye also would allow for exclusive negotiating rights between season’s end and free agency, though Maye giving the 2022 market a try after being tagged would make sense. Maye said last week he has not requested a trade, but contentious negotiations with the Jets did not produce a summer deal. And Maye’s DUI arrest may only further distance him from the Jets, whom he did not inform about the arrest for months after the fact.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Going into the 2021 free agency period, the Dolphins‘ regret from their 2020 spending spree influenced a quieter tour through this year’s market, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. The pandemic-reduced salary cap impacted Miami, like it did all teams, but the Dolphins spent just $25.4MM in guarantees this year. They allocated $147.2MM in total contracts in 2020, and the results helped lead the team to its 1-6 place. Byron Jones has not lived up to his then-record deal, and the Dolphins moved on from Shaq Lawson, Kyle Van Noy and Ereck Flowers after one season.
  • Bills defensive ends Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes have been discussed as trade targets around the league, per Graziano. Buffalo has done well to bolster its defensive line, and Addison and Hughes are 30-somethings in contract years. That said, it is difficult to see the Bills parting with either given their status as Super Bowl contenders. Hughes, 33, has started every game for Buffalo this year — his eighth as a Bills first-stringer — while first-rounder Gregory Rousseau has displaced Addison as a starter. Addison, 34, and Hughes have combined for just 1.5 sacks, but each certainly helps Buffalo with D-line depth.
  • The contract the Patriots gave ex-Lions second-rounder Jahlani Tavai runs through the 2022 season, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss, who writes the ex-Day 2 pick is likely being evaluated for a bigger role next season. The Patriots have Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley and Jamie Collins on expiring contracts, giving Tavai a chance to grow from a seldom-used defender to a more prominent player in 2022. Tavai is set to make just $965K next year.
  • The extension the Patriots gave ex-Dolphins starter Raekwon McMillan calls for a $1MM base salary in 2022, per Reiss, who adds the Pats included $300K in playing-time incentives for the rehabbing linebacker. McMillan tore an ACL early in Pats camp but will have a shot to make next year’s team. The Pats included a $50K roster bonus for McMillan, if he remains with the team March 22.

Patriots Extend LB Raekwon McMillan

Raekwon McMillan won’t see the field this season, but the Patriots linebacker still got a deal for next year. New England has signed McMillan to a one-year extension, keeping the player with the team through at least the 2022 campaign, per ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter).

McMillan joined the Patriots this offseason, and it sounded like he was going to carve out a role on the team’s defense (per ESPN’s Mike Reiss on Twitter). However, he suffered a torn ACL during training camp that knocked him out of action for the entire 2021 season. The 25-year-old will still have a year to pick up the team’s playbook, and he’ll be able to compete for a spot on next year’s roster.

McMillan was a second-round pick back in 2017, but his rookie season was wiped out thanks to a torn ACL. He was relatively productive in two healthy seasons with the Dolphins, collecting 177 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles.

He was traded to the Raiders prior to the 2020 season, and he finished his lone season in Vegas with 27 tackles and one forced fumble in 16 games (four starts).

Patriots’ Raekwon McMillan Tears ACL

Patriots linebacker Raekwon McMillan tore his ACL while practicing earlier this week (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). That marks the second ACL tear of McMillan’s career and the end of his 2021 season. is the second torn ACL for the former #Dolphins 2nd round pick, but this time on the other knee. 

This time around, it’s McMillan’s other knee. It’s another frustrating setback for the former Dolphins second-round pick who was once ticketed for a sizable role in Miami’s front seven.

McMillan spent the early part of his career with the Dolphins before being shipped to the Raiders in August of 2020. He came off the bench in most games, finishing the year with 27 stops and one forced fumble.

Before that, he flashed at times in South Beach and even ranked as the Dolphins’ best defensive player in 2019, per to Pro Football Focus. The Dolphins considered a long-term extension for him at one point but, ultimately, they were unwilling to commit, especially at the height of the pandemic.

Despite his ups, downs, and suspect pass coverage, the Patriots were excited to add him on a one-year deal earlier this year. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to join fellow newcomer Matt Judon in the LB group – at least, not until 2022.

Patriots To Sign LB Raekwon McMillan

The Patriots aren’t done shopping. On Friday, Bill Belichick & Co. agreed to sign linebacker Raekwon McMillan to a one-year deal (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). 

[RELATED: Patriots Bring Back David Andrews]

McMillan spent the early part of his career with the Dolphins before being shipped to the Raiders last August. He came off the bench in most games, finishing the year with 27 stops and one forced fumble.

The hard-hitting linebacker came into the league as a second-round pick in 2017. He flashed at times and even ranked as Miami’s best defensive player in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus. The Dolphins considered a long-term extension for him at one point but, ultimately, they were unwilling to commit. The timing wasn’t great either — talks petered out amidst the pandemic.

McMillan’s pass coverage is suspect, but he’s a solid run-blocker who should see time in the Patriots’ rotation. He’ll be joined by fellow new arrival Matt Judon in that group, along with scores of other fresh faces in the locker room.

Dolphins Trade LB Raekwon McMillan To Raiders

The Dolphins have agreed to trade linebacker Raekwon McMillan to the Raiders, according to a source who spoke with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). In exchange, the Raiders are sending a 2021 fourth-round pick to Miami, but they’ll also receive a 2021 fifth-round pick along with McMillan (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). 

[RELATED: Raiders’ Tyrell Williams Battling Labrum Tear]

In 2019, McMillan ranked as the Dolphins’ best defensive player, according to Pro Football Focus. Earlier this year, the Dolphins were said to be considering an extension for McMillan, but the pandemic threw a wrench into those talks. The Dolphins also had their doubts about McMillan’s pass coverage, and they were planning to mostly use him on run downs this year. DeVante Parker, Jesse Davis, Allen Hurns, and Jakeem Grant all received extensions recently, but the Dolphins ultimately did not want to lock down the young ‘backer.

McMillan, who has one year and $1.1MM left on his deal, will now try to make his case in Las Vegas. There, he’ll support a revamped linebacker group that previously had depth concerns, despite the additions of Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski.

McMillan wasn’t the right fit for Brian Flores‘ 3-4 hybrid scheme, but he could fare better with Jon Gruden. He comes to the Raiders with ample experience, having started 28 of his 29 games since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2017.