Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Bears, Lions, Packers and Vikings are noted below.
Additionally, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads today. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.
Here are Sunday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
- Signed to practice squad:
- Signed to practice squad:
Green Bay Packers
- Signed to practice squad:
Here are Monday’s minor moves:
- Placed on reserve/retired list: S Zedrick Woods
- Signed: CB Tyler Patmon
- Signed: OL Tiano Pupungatoa
- Waived: RB Roc Thomas
New York Jets
- Placed on active/PUP list: DB Brandon Bryant
- Placed on active/NFI list: CB Bless Austin
The Lions cut defensive lineman Cornelius Washington, according to a team announcement. Washington was set to enter the second year of a two-year, $6MM deal, so his release comes as a surprise.
Washington played 488 snaps last season at defensive end with the Lions and registered 2.5 sacks. The Lions, though, drafted Da’Shawn Hand in the fourth round this year, which put him on the chopping block.
Prior to joining the Lions, Washington spent four years with the Bears. He has 46 career games to his credit, but he’s registered only four starts across five NFL seasons. Washington will likely find a new home before the season opener, but it will almost certainly be as a reserve.
In related moves, the Lions signed cornerbacks Dexter McDougle and Sterling Moore and offensive lineman Beau Nunn. To help make room, the Lions placed linebacker Steve Longa on IR and waived cornerback Antwuan Davis.
Third-year Lions linebacker Steve Longa did, in fact, suffer a torn ACL that will end his season, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports. Longa tore the ligament while chasing down Giants quarterback Kyle Lauletta and is expected to be placed on IR Monday. The Lions weren’t going to use Longa as a starter — Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones and Devon Kennard are entrenched as their first-string ‘backers — but the former UDFA was a key part of Detroit’s special teams corps. This may open up a spot for Miles Killebrew, a former safety who’s been working with the Lions’ linebackers in recent weeks. Killebrew also serves as a regular on special teams.
Here’s the latest out of the NFC, moving to another NFC North team’s injury situation.
- The Bears received better news regarding a young player’s injury. Adam Shaheen required a cart to leave the field during Saturday night’s Bears-Broncos game thanks to a first-quarter setback. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets the second-year tight end is not believed to have suffered a serious injury. The 2017 second-rounder is dealing with a low ankle sprain, per Rapoport. Although more tests will be in store for the small-school product, Shaheen has a chance to play in Week 1.
- Sean McVay said (via Lindsay Thiry of ESPN.com, on Twitter) Junior Galette‘s Rams visit will take place Monday. Galette is now 30 and a few years removed from his peak — back-to-back 10-plus-sack years with the Saints in 2013-14 — but he did play in all 16 Redskins games last season after missing the previous two years with injuries. The Rams’ efforts to restock their cornerback contingent and add Ndamukong Suh induced some cutbacks, and the Super Bowl contender’s edge defender situation is perhaps a vulnerable spot midway through the preseason.
- Another NFC West team has questions on the edge, and Kyle Shanahan (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, on Twitter) still has Elvis Dumervil in mind as a contingency plan in case the second-year HC deems the 49ers as being too light on defensive ends. Shanahan said earlier this offseason the 12-year veteran probably wouldn’t need much preseason work to be effective, so San Francisco still remains a possibility for the now-34-year-old edge player. Dumervil, who began his career under Mike Shanahan and alongside John Lynch in Denver, led the 49ers with 6.5 sacks last season. No other 49er registered more than three.
- More running back injury trouble’s come the 49ers’ way. With Jerick McKinnon and No. 2 back Matt Breida out until Week 1, 2017 fourth-rounder Joe Williams fractured a rib and suffered a “very bad” bone bruise, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Shanahan said Williams will miss Week 1. Shanahan urged Lynch to trade up to select Williams, but this setback figures to pose a problem for his chances of making an impact this season. The 49ers, who also lost offensive lineman Erik Magnuson to a hamstring strain that will shelve him until possibly October, are going to make IR decisions regarding this duo this week (Twitter links, via Maiocco and the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman). A 2017 UDFA out of Michigan, Magnuson played in four games as a rookie and started two. If the 49ers place either on IR before roster-cutdown day, they cannot use one of their IR-return spots on them.
- Second-year UDFA Rickey Jefferson will not play for the Saints this season. The defensive back tore one of his ACLs in New Orleans’ second preseason game, Nick Underhill of The Advocate reports. The LSU alum did not play last season and latched on with the Saints in January via reserve/futures contract.
It sounds like one of the Lions’ key special teamers suffered a season-ending injury on Friday night. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the organization is fearing that linebacker Steve Longa tore his ACL. The 23-year-old was seen wearing a “bulky brace” following the game, and he’s set to undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.
Longa reportedly went down on a non-contact play during the third quarter of last night’s contest. If the defender is indeed out for the year, it’d be a tough break for a player who has seemingly moved up the depth chart. The former undrafted free agent out of Rutgers compiled 13 tackles in 15 games last season, mostly serving on special teams.
However, it sounded like the team had bigger plans for Longa in 2018. He was working as the Lions’ second-team middle linebacker behind former first-rounder Jarrad Davis, and he even earned some praise from head coach Matt Patricia.
“I really think he’s made great improvements,” Patricia said (via Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com). “He’s a very instinctual football player, which is probably what helps him on special teams. There’s a lot of feel there that goes into special teams because of the space and dynamic of the play. And then to squeeze that down into the defense, and really understand where the ball’s going, how the fits work and the scheme offensively, how that affects your defense – it’s something I think he’s improved greatly at.”
If Longa misses the entire season, Darnell Sankey would likely move up on the middle linebacker depth chart. The Lions could also give a look at Christian Jones, Jonathan Freeny, Cam Johnson, and Trevor Bates.
Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2017 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters.
- WR Jared Abbrederis
- TE Kennard Backman
- RB Mike James
- TE Khari Lee
- LB Steve Longa
- OL Matt Rotheram
- OL Brandon Thomas
- WR Andrew Turzilli
- DB Charles Washington
- LB Alex Bazzie
- DE Jimmy Bean
- WR K.J. Brent
- DL Demetrius Cherry
- CB Kenneth Durden
- TE Cooper Helfet
- WR Jaydon Mickens
- TE Ryan O’Malley
- OG Oni Omoile
- OG Ian Silberman
While it appears the Steelers will retain impending free agent running back Le’Veon Bell beyond this season, whether via the franchise tag or a long-term deal, the 24-year-old said Friday that his contract isn’t a concern at the moment. “I haven’t even been paying attention to that. I’m just playing football,” Bell stated regarding his future (via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com). Led by Bell’s 298 total yards (262 rushing, 36 receiving) and three touchdowns, the Steelers knocked off Buffalo, 27-20, last Sunday to improve to an AFC North-leading 8-5.
More from the NFL’s North divisions:
- Bengals receiver A.J. Green is targeting a Dec. 24 return from a hamstring injury, a source told Bob Holzman of ESPN. The five-time Pro Bowler hasn’t played since Nov. 20, and even though the 5-7-1 Bengals are basically out of the playoff hunt, he has vowed to come back this season.
- Packers running back James Starks was in a car crash Monday and is now in the concussion protocol, coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Thursday (link via NFL.com’s Marc Sessler). It sounds like Starks is not in any kind of medical danger, but his status for this week is in question. It’s not clear whether he will be able to go in Week 16 or 17.
- Bears wideout Marquess Wilson fractured his left foot in practice Friday for the third time since 2015, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com. Head coach John Fox is unsure if Wilson will need surgery, but the Bears are likely to place him on injured reserve prior to Sunday’s game against Green Bay. This injury could potentially end Wilson’s tenure with the Bears, as the 2013 seventh-round pick will be a free agent in the offseason. The 24-year-old has hauled in nine passes for 160 yards and a touchdown this season, and has amassed 56 receptions and three scores in 31 career games.
- Lions practice squad linebacker Steve Longa is now being paid an active roster rate, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). That could indicate another team tried to sign Longa away from Detroit.
- The Lions worked out two defensive backs, Tony Burnett and Forrest Hightower, and linebacker Deon Lacey this week, Justin Rogers of The Detroit News tweets.
Zach Links contributed to this post.