Sam Martin

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/7/22

Today’s updates for the Reserve/COVID-19 list:

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/3/22

Here are Monday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: OT Mike Remmers (remains on IR)

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: RB Raymond Calais (remains on IR)

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Broncos Sign P Max Duffy

The Broncos are bringing in some competition for Sam Martin. The team announced today that they’ve signed punter Max Duffy.

The Australian-born athlete spent a handful of years in the Australian Football League, but he announced his retirement from that league in 2017 as he pursued a career in American football. He ended up catching on with Kentucky, appearing in 34 games during his collegiate career. Duffy averaged 46 yards on his 151 collegiate punts, and he earned All-SEC honors in both 2019 and 2020. He also received a unanimous first-team All-American nod in 2019.

Duffy was actually drafted by Toronto in the fourth round of April’s CFL Draft, but the 28-year-old will instead try his luck in the NFL.

In Denver, Duffy will have to compete with Martin for a roster spot. The veteran punter joined Denver last offseason on a three-year, $7MM deal, and his final 2020 punting numbers (including 46.8 yards per punt) were on-par with his career marks. Martin did struggle a bit on kickoffs, averaging a career-low 57-yards per kick.

Contract Details: Zuerlein, Bills, Cardinals

Here are the latest details from the second wave of free agency. All links courtesy of the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, unless otherwise noted.

AFC East Notes: Lawson, Dolphins, Jets

Despite Shaq Lawson being in trade rumors for much of his tenure with the Bills, the current regime was interested in bringing him back. However, it does not appear Buffalo’s interest in retaining the former Doug Whaley first-round pick was extensive. The Bills were open to re-signing Lawson, but Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic notes such interest was contingent on Lawson returning at a certain price (subscription required). But once the Dolphins guaranteed two years of Lawson’s $10MM-AAV contract, the Bills let him walk. Buffalo signed both Mario Addison and versatile D-lineman Quinton Jefferson to cover for Lawson’s exit.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Shifting to Lawson’s new team, the Dolphins received good news on the health statuses of two of their recent free agent additions. Emmanuel Ogbah said he has been cleared for football work for around a month but has yet to partake in workouts because of COVID-19 concerns, Cameron Wolfe of tweets. Ogbah will receive a Chiefs Super Bowl ring, but the defensive end’s contributions ended midseason because of a torn pectoral muscle.
  • Jordan Howard also will be full-go when the Dolphins reconvene, Wolfe adds. After a strong start to his Eagles season, Howard suffered a shoulder injury that derailed his momentum. He played in just one game after Week 9 but did not log any carries. Howard was inactive for Philadelphia’s playoff game. The Dolphins gave him a two-year, $9.75MM contract.
  • Sam Martin ended up signing with the Broncos, but the Jets were interested in adding the former Lions punter, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes. The Broncos gave Martin a three-year, $7.05MM deal; Mehta adds the Jets were not budgeting that much for their punter position. Martin’s $2.35MM salary ranks 15th among punters. The Jets have opted not to re-sign incumbent punter Lac Edwards, their four-year punter, and Mehta adds they have remained in contact with former Dolphins and Bills punter Matt Darr. Ian Berryman, a 2019 Steelers UDFA, is the only punter on the Jets’ roster. The team remains interested in another addition here. Bringing considerable punter news to the table, Mehta adds that the Jets are doing their homework on Texas A&M’s Braden Mann — the 2018 Ray Guy award winner.
  • While things could certainly change in the coming months, the Patriots appear set to make Jarrett Stidham the favorite to be their first non-Tom Brady Week 1 starter since 2001.

Broncos To Sign P Sam Martin

The Broncos have agreed to sign punter Sam Martin to a three-year, $7.05MM contract, per Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network (via Twitter). The deal puts him in the middle of the pack in terms of AAV, but it clearly suggests that Denver plans on having him usurp incumbent Colby Wadman.

Martin was drafted by the Lions in the fifth round of the 2013 draft and served as Detroit’s primary punter from the jump. He agreed to take a pay cut before the 2019 season got underway, but in exchange, the 2020 year of his prior contract became a voidable year, which allowed him to hit the open market this offseason.

As Troy Renck of Denver 7 notes, Martin represents an upgrade over Wadman in most relevant statistical categories for punters. In 2019, the Lions ranked 11th in the league in terms of yards per attempt (41.8), while the Broncos ranked 27th (39.4). The Lions also allowed the fourth-fewest punt return yards, and Martin offers a bigger leg that should play well in the Mile High air.

The Broncos’ punting team has been a constant source of trouble since the club cut Britton Colquitt in 2016, and Denver hopes Martin will bring an end to those woes.

North Notes: Hunt, Steelers, Lions, Packers

It turns out Kareem Hunt‘s suspension won’t be as significant as it originally seemed. The Browns’ running back is suspended for the first eight games of the season, but he would’ve missed the first handful of those games anyway. Hunt underwent sports hernia surgery on Thursday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The injury will likely sideline Hunt for the next 4-6 weeks, according to a tweet from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The Browns announced in a tweet of their own that a “full recovery is anticipated prior to his return to action in Week 10 of the regular season.” Hunt will be eligible to return from his suspension on November 10th against the Bills. Until then Cleveland’s backfield will still be in good hands, as they have Nick Chubb holding down the fort. Once Hunt returns, the Browns will have a potentially scary one-two punch. Hunt was one of the best running backs in the league before Kansas City cut him last year, scoring 14 touchdowns in just 11 games.

Here’s more from the league’s North divisions:

  • Ben Roethlisberger has a new backup. Second-year player Mason Rudolph has won the competition to be the Steelers’ backup in 2019, sources told Jeremy Fowler of (Twitter link). Pittsburgh drafted Rudolph 76th overall last year, and he spent the 2018 season as the third-string passer behind Roethlisberger and Joshua Dobbs. During the preseason Rudolph impressed by completing 65 percent of his passes while throwing four touchdowns and only one interception, and some think he’s a potential heir to Roethlisberger. He hasn’t been cut yet, but it looks like this could be the end of the line for Dobbs, a 2017 fourth-rounder, in Pittsburgh.
  • The Lions gave defensive tackle Damon Harrison an extension last week, and now we have the full details, courtesy of Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. In addition to getting an extra year tacked onto his deal, Harrison also received a $2MM raise for the 2019 season. He also got a $7.5MM signing bonus. His contract now runs through the 2021 season, with an option on the final year that must be exercised by the final day of the 2020 league year.
  • Speaking of Lions contract details, punter Sam Martin had his deal reworked, according to Field Yates of (Twitter link). Martin had a non-guaranteed base salary of $2.4MM for 2019, which was bumped down to a guaranteed $1.7MM. Yates adds that 2020 is now a voidable year in his contract. Martin took a pay-cut for 2019, but he’ll now get the chance to reach free agency sooner and cash in as a result of the 2020 year becoming voidable when it was previously just non-guaranteed salary.
  •  The Packers have settled on their starting left guard. After a training camp battle between veteran Lane Taylor and rookie Elgton Jenkins, the team has opted to go with Taylor, according to Rob Demovsky of “It’s going to be a competition throughout the season, but right now Lane Taylor is the starter,” head coach Matt LaFleur said. Taylor signed with Green Bay as an UDFA back in 2013 and has been with the team ever since. He’s started at least 14 games each of the past three seasons, although his play has been underwhelming at times. The Packers drafted Jenkins 44th overall out of Mississippi State back in April.

Lions Activate Sam Martin From NFI List

The Lions will deploy a third punter this season, but this one is at least their preferred option. Sam Martin will return to his post as Detroit’s punter on Sunday night after the Lions activated him from the non-football injury list Saturday, Kyle Meinke of reports.

To make room for Martin’s roster return, the Lions cut defensive end Jacquies Smith. The Lions signed Smith last week after the Buccaneers waived him earlier this month.

Martin will make his season debut after residing on Detroit’s NFI list since the preseason concluded. The fifth-year punter dealt with a foot injury sustained away from the team, but the Lions have not disclosed how it occurred. Detroit cut veteran punter Jeff Locke earlier this week. Locke held down the fort for the Lions, who lost previous Martin replacement Kasey Redfern to a season-ending injury suffered during Week 1.

The 27-year-old Martin, though, is coming off a season where he posted the second-best net punting average (44.2 yards) in league history. The one-time fifth-round pick — and recipient of a Lions extension in 2016 — played in 64 regular-season games from 2013-16 prior to suffering this summer setback.

Signed during the Lions’ bye week, Smith did not play in any games for the team. A two-year Tampa Bay starter, Smith suited up for one Bucs contest prior to being waived this season. The fourth-year player will head back onto the waiver wire.

Lions Cut Punter Jeff Locke

The Lions are releasing punter Jeff Locke, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Locke exits just as Sam Martin gears up for his return.

Jeff Locke (vertical)

Locke, 28, spent the first four years of his career with the Vikings. The rival Lions came calling this fall when their punting situation fell apart. First, Martin landed on the NFI list over the summer. Then, Kasey Redfern tore his ACL and MCL during a botched punt-turned-scramble in the preseason.

Locke did a good job of holding down the fort, providing the Lions with quality punting while he also handled kickoffs. In his five games, Locke averaged a career-high 45.3 yards per punt.

Martin, meanwhile, has built a reputation as one of the better punters in the league. The 27-year-old is currently in the midst of a four-year extension inked prior to the 2016 season.

Lions Set 53-Man Roster

The Lions have met the NFL’s 53-man maximum requirement by making the following transactions:





Placed on non-football injury list:

Placed physically unable to perform list: