Sony Michel

Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC West

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BroncosChargers, Chiefs and Raiders moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s AFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Denver Broncos

Re-signed:

Signed to practice squad:

Kansas City Chiefs

Signed to practice squad:

Las Vegas Raiders

Released from IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Los Angeles Chargers

Signed: 

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Chargers To Sign RB Sony Michel

12:50pm: Michel’s visit went well. He will indeed ink a deal with the Chargers, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. While several vets are signing to teams’ practice squads Wednesday, this is an active-roster agreement for Michel.

9:02am: A clear-cut Austin Ekeler backup did not emerge during the Chargers’ preseason slate. The Dolphins may be delivering one.

After failing to make Miami’s 53-man roster, Michel will meet with the Bolts on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Michel spent the 2021 season in Los Angeles, leading the Rams in rushing. Although Michel’s Dolphins training camp injects some doubt into his 2022 capabilities, the former Patriots first-rounder has led two Super Bowl-winning teams in rushing.

Michel, 27, has battled knee issues during a pro career that has seldom seen him flash the potential he showed at Georgia. Nevertheless, the 2018 first-round pick produced two 900-yard rushing seasons in New England and added 845 in L.A. last season. The Rams acquired Michel via trade last year, following Cam Akers‘ ACL tear, and the late-summer addition outproduced Darrell Henderson in 2021.

The Rams pivoted back to Akers after his late-season return from the Achilles tear, leaving Michel (4.1 yards per carry in 2021) without much of a postseason role, and opted not to bring the veteran back in free agency. Michel signed a one-year, $1.75MM deal and pocketed $850K guaranteed with Miami but saw holdovers Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed beat him out for a role alongside Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert.

The Chargers kept three backs behind Ekeler — Joshua Kelley, 2021 sixth-rounder Larry Rountree and fourth-round rookie Isaiah Spiller. A Michel addition would likely send one of these backs to the waiver wire.

Ekeler stayed healthy last season, producing a 20-touchdown slate that led the league but curiously did not produce a Pro Bowl invite. But the dual-threat back missed six games in 2020, seeing a hamstring tear derail his season. Despite losing out to multiple younger backs during the Dolphins’ preseason competition, Michel could provide stability as an Ekeler backup.

Dolphins Release RB Sony Michel

Rumored to be on Miami’s roster bubble, Sony Michel did not make the team. The Dolphins released the veteran running back Monday.

A former Patriots first-round pick, Michel has two Super Bowl rings. He led both teams — the 2018 Patriots and 2021 Rams — in rushing, most recently amassing 845 yards last season in Los Angeles. But the Dolphins are moving on, leaving Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert and Myles Gaskin as their top backs.

Michel’s arrival was viewed as a threat to Gaskin, who saw the team bring in a few notable backs this offseason. But Michel is back in free agency, moving past waivers due to vested-veteran status. The Saints were interested in Michel earlier this offseason, but he opted to sign with the Dolphins. This cut comes after Miami fully guaranteed Michel $850K. The team will still save close to $1MM with this transaction.

Despite a run of injuries as a Patriot, Michel played in all 21 Rams games last season. The Rams moved to Michel via trade after Cam Akers‘ July 2021 Achilles tear, and the former became a reliable contributor. The Georgia product posted two 120-plus-yard rushing games during the season’s second half, which featured Darrell Henderson also miss time because of injury, and eclipsed 70 rushing yards in five straight games from Weeks 12-16 last season. Akers return led Michel to a backup role for most of L.A.’s postseason, which did not feature much in the way of Akers production.

Michel, whose six rushing touchdowns in the 2018 playoffs sit in a tie for second in a single postseason (behind only Terrell Davis‘ eight in 1997), should have options post-Miami. But running backs — especially those whose skillsets do not include proven pass-catching ability — often struggle to find work after their rookie deals expire. It will be interesting to see where the fifth-year runner, who has not been used as a pass-catching option much, ends up.

Gaskin could profile as Mostert insurance, given the latter’s run of injuries toward the end of his 49ers tenure. The Dolphins also have holdover Salvon Ahmed on the team, though they must slash their roster from 80 to 53 by 3pm CT Tuesday. The team has begun doing so, making several cuts. Gerrid Doaks, a former seventh-round running back pick, is among them.

Release Candidates: Dolphins RBs Myles Gaskin, Sony Michel

The Dolphins completely revamped their running backs depth chart this offseason, and that will naturally lead to some tough decisions when it comes to roster cuts. While we don’t have full clarity yet on how the RB room will shake out, we can pretty confidently say that at least two offseason acquisitions will make the roster. Chase Edmonds earned the biggest contract of the bunch, and he’s expected to carry over his versatile, pass-catching role from Arizona to Miami. Meanwhile, while Raheem Mostert has struggled to stay healthy recently, his familiarity with Mike McDaniel‘s system makes him a lock to make the squad.

That leaves only a handful of spots for more than a handful of RBs. As Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald recently wrote, the team could end up opting for cheaper options as they look to fill in the depth chart behind Edmonds and Mostert. That means one or both of Sony Michel and Myles Gaskin could earn their walking papers before the season begins.

Michel was the Dolphins’ third notable running back signing. Following a disappointing final season in New England, the former first-round pick bounced back in 2021 with the Rams. He ended up starting seven of his 17 games, collecting 973 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns on 229 touches. The veteran also has extensive postseason experience, having earned rings with the Patriots and the Rams (including a 2018 playoff run when he had six touchdowns). The thing is, Michel is due $2.1MM next season, with only $500K guaranteed. It’s a drop in the bucket when it comes to the whole roster, but it’s still a lofty salary for what could ultimately be a third running back.

Meanwhile, Gaskin is the primary holdover from last year’s squad. Over the past two seasons, Gaskin has collected 1,818 yards from scrimmage in 27 games (17 starts). He’s also shown that he can be productive in the passing game, hauling in 90 receptions over that same span. However, similar to Michel, Gaskin is probably making too much for an end-of-the-depth-chart RB. The 25-year-old is set to make $2.5MM next season, but the team could recoup all of that money if they let him go.

If a spot does open on the depth chart, it seems like Salvon Ahmed would likely earn the gig. Ahmed actually had a stint on McDaniel’s squad in 2020 before joining Miami. The former undrafted free agent has gotten into 18 games for the Dolphins over the past two years, collecting 646 yards on offense. The Dolphins’ other RB options, including Zaquandre White and Gerrid Doaks, profile more as practice squad players, which probably bodes well for one of Michel or Gaskin to make the 53-man roster.

For what it’s worth, Gaskin leads the Dolphins in carries this offseason, while Michel has contributed -2 rushing yards on four touches. The coaching staff will use the next week to determine how to proceed, but if preseason has been any indication, it seems like Michel may be the odd man out.

Contract Details: Michel, Goodwin

Here are some details on deals recently signed around the NFL:

  • Sony Michel, RB (Dolphins): One-year, $1.75MM. The deal, according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe, has a guaranteed amount of $850,000 consisting of a $350,000 signing bonus and $500,000 of the base salary. Michel will also earn a per game active bonus of $14,117 for a potential season total of $240,000.
  • Marquise Goodwin, WR (Seahawks): One-year, $1.27MM. The contract, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times, has a guaranteed amount of $152,500 in the form of a signing bonus. It’s a low-risk deal meant to either bring in a veteran on the back end of the depth chart or motivate the younger players on the back end of the depth chart to up their game.

Contract Details: Addison, Michel, Chargers

We’ve compiled some updated numbers on recent NFL signings:

  • Mario Addison, DE (Texans): two-year deal. Contract has a $7.7MM base value, including a $2MM signing bonus, per ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter.
  • Bryce Callahan, CB (Chargers): signed. It’s a one-year deal worth $1.27MM, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (via Twitter). The deal has a cap hit of $1.04MM thanks to the veteran salary benefit. Callahan will earn a base salary of $1.12MM and a signing bonus worth $152.5K.
  • Mike Davis, RB (Ravens): signed. It’s a one-year deal for the veteran running back, per Yates (on Twitter). The deal is worth a bit more than $1.20MM, meaning Davis’s cap hit will qualify for the veteran salary benefit contract.
  • Tyrann Mathieu, CB (Saints): three-year, $33MM deal ($18MM guaranteed). The deal features a $9.5MM signing bonus and fully guaranteed base salaries in 2022 and 2023. The contract is effectively a three-year pact worth $27MM, with $18MM guaranteed and $2MM in yearly bonuses (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com).
  • Sony Michel, RB (Dolphins): one-year, $2.1MM deal. The contract includes a $1.75MM base value, including a $350K signing bonus (per Yates on Twitter).
  • E.J. Perry, QB (Jaguars): signed. The UDFA received $230K in guaranteed money from Jacksonville, including a $23K signing bonus and a guaranteed $207K salary, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).
  • Kyle Van Noy, LB (Chargers): one-year deal. The contract’s base value and cap hit are worth $2.25MM. Includes $1.5MM base salary and $750K signing bonus, per Yates on Twitter.

Dolphins To Sign RB Sony Michel

The Dolphins’ offseason backfield makeover will continue post-draft. They are signing former Patriots first-round pick Sony Michel, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). It’s a one-year deal, Josina Anderson of USA Today tweets. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that the deal is worth $2.1MM.

Michel, who trekked to Miami and New Orleans for visits last week, will join Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert in a suddenly crowded Dolphins backfield. Miami signed both Edmonds and Mostert in March and will become the rare team to roster three running backs with at least four years’ experience. These additions should help a Miami ground attack that ranked 30th last season.

This will be Michel’s third NFL destination, and it comes on the heels of the ex-Georgia standout winning his second Super Bowl. Michel was far more effective during the Patriots’ 2018 playoff stretch (six rushing touchdowns, tied for second all time for a single postseason) than he was during the Rams’ four-game winter odyssey (26 carries, 80 yards), but he played a key role for Los Angeles during the regular season.

The Rams acquired Michel after Cam Akers sustained an Achilles tear, and the injury-prone ex-Patriot became the team’s go-to back after Darrell Henderson suffered a midseason injury. Michel posted two 120-plus-yard games in December, helping the Rams stay the course en route to their NFC West title. Michel faded into the background after Akers’ late-season return and received only two carries in Super Bowl LVI, but his 845 rushing yards led the Rams by a wide margin last season.

Although injuries plagued Michel for much of his Patriots run, he suited up for all 21 Rams games last season. The Dolphins’ previous two running back acquisitions have histories being injury-prone (Mostert) or as a change-of-pace back (Edmonds). Michel profiles as a between-the-tackles type who could provide some insurance. His arrival crowds a position group that also houses holdovers Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed. Provided everyone stays healthy through the preseason, Miami’s backfield will not have room for all five backs.

RB Sony Michel To Visit Dolphins, Saints

There aren’t many RBs with first-round pedigree and 1,000-yard seasons still on the market. One of them, Sony Michel, is starting to generate some interest around the NFL. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter), Michel visited the Dolphins today and is set to meet with the Saints later this week.

Michel was the 31st-overall pick in the 2018 draft, and he immediately played a role for the Patriots. He finished his rookie campaign with 981 yards from scrimmage, but he made a name for himself with his postseason performance. In three playoff games, Michel collected 345 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns en route to a Super Bowl championship.

The running back continued his production in 2019, finishing with 1,006 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns. However, he found himself in and out of New England’s RB rotation in 2020, and he was traded to the Rams prior to the 2021 campaign. During his lone season with the Rams, Michel collected 973 yards from scrimmage, and he added another 72 yards in four postseason games.

The Dolphins have been busy adding to the running backs room this offseason, signing Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert to join Myles Gaskins in Miami’s backfield. The Saints also added a former player in Mark Ingram, with Alvin Kamara once again leading the depth chart.

Patriots To Trade Sony Michel To Rams

5:14pm: The teams have agreed to a revised trade. The Rams are sending the Patriots a 2022 sixth-round pick and a 2023 fourth-rounder for Michel, The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue tweets. This certainly makes for a less complicated trade package, and the Rams could end up netting a compensatory pick — depending on Michel’s potential free agency path next year.

8:53am: The Patriots have agreed to trade running back Sony Michel to the Rams in exchange for two late-round conditional draft picks (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). The Patriots will get a fifth-rounder and sixth-rounder that combines and converts to a fourth-rounder when/if the Rams get a fourth-round compensatory pick (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). 

In essence, it’s Michel — a former-first round pick — in exchange for a fourth round selection. As New England’s 2018 first-rounder (No. 31 overall), Michel showed promise in his rookie year. He collected 981 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in 13 regular season games, and he added another six scores during the Patriots’ run to a championship. Michel’s overall stats went up a bit in 2019 thanks to him appearing in three more games, but his yards per carry dropped from 4.5 (2018) to 3.7 (2019). Michel spent much of the 2020 campaign on the IR and COVID list, finishing with a career-low 563 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.

The Patriots declined his fifth-year option, so he’s on course for free agency in 2022. Now, the Rams get Michel — who is still only 26 years old — in a prove-it year. It’s hard to see Michel as a three-down back in the NFL, but the Rams see ample upside here, especially with Cam Akers sidelined for the year.

The Pats, meanwhile, will move forward with 2019 third-rounder Damien Harris as their starter, James White as their pass-catching specialist, and new rookie Rhamondre Stevenson in support. J.J. Taylor and veteran special teams player Brandon Bolden are also vying for time and the Patriots weren’t going to carry more than five RBs.

Michel will earn $1.79MM this year as he looks to reinvent himself in Los Angeles. For now, he’ll likely slot in behind Darrell Henderson Jr. as the Rams’ RB1 with support from youngster Xavier Jones and rookie Jake Funk.

Latest On Damien Harris, Patriots RB Depth

Per usual, the Patriots running back room is getting a bit crowded. However, while Bill Belichick and co. will traditionally shake up their depth chart based on performance and opponents, ESPN’s Mike Reiss believes the hierarchy is already set heading into training camp. According to the writer, Damien Harris is the “surefire No. 1 option” at the moment

Harris, a 2019 third-round pick, barely played during his rookie campaign, but he took on more responsibility during the 2020 season. The Alabama product ended up finishing the campaign with 743 yards from scrimmage on only 142 carries. Best of all, the 5-foot-11 running back doesn’t appear to be a flash in the pan, as Belichick was quick to praise the 24-year-old last month.

“Damien works extremely hard at all phases — certainly his conditioning and training, running game, passing game, protection, route running, catching the ball,” Belichick said (via Reiss) “He’s got a lot of skill and he can contribute in a variety of ways, and he’s looking to upgrade where he is in every area.”

While Harris seems to have a firm hold on the starting gig, the rest of the depth chart is still a bit uncertain. As Reiss notes, the only other running back who’s (basically) guaranteed to make the roster is fourth-round rookie Rhamondre Stevenson. Elsewhere, pass-catching veteran James White will probably retain his role for at least another year, J.J. Taylor is inexpensive and should serve as a “spark plug,” and Brandon Bolden has established himself as a special teams ace. This means that former first-round pick Sony Michel could find himself on the outside looking in, especially if the Patriots decide to hang on to one of their younger, less expensive alternatives.