An injury to one depth cornerback has resulted in the signing of another in San Francisco. The 49ers have agreed to a deal with Anthony Averett while placing Terrance Mitchellon IR, per a team announcement.
Averett spent the first four seasons of his career with the Ravens, seeing a notable jump in playing time with each passing campaign. The former fourth-rounder served as a full-time starter in 2021, and he posted career-highs in tackles (54), interceptions (three) and pass deflections (11) that year.
Those numbers only earned him a one-year contract on the open market, though, and Averett spent the past season with the Raiders. The 28-year-old was limited to just seven games in his lone Vegas campaign, with thumb and toe injuries leading to IR stints. Averett put up lackluster numbers as part of a Raiders secondary which struggled throughout the season, leading to his lengthy stay on the open market this time around.
The Alabama product will now join a 49ers defense which is among the league’s best in the hopes of carving out a depth role. San Francisco has Charvarius Wardand Deommodore Lenoirin place as starters on the boundary, where Averett has spent the majority of his career. His 27 career starts would give the team notable experience if Averett is called into action, presuming he manages to cement a spot on the 53-man roster over the next several weeks.
Mitchell has seen time with six different teams during his eight years in the NFL, including the Titans last season. He was in position to add further to that list in San Francisco, but by being placed on IR he will sidelined for the entire 2023 campaign. The 31-year-old will turn his attention to rehab in advance of next year’s free agent period.
Isaiah Wilson hasn’t had an NFL gig since he was released by the Giants in January of 2022. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets that the free agent lineman was slapped with a three-game suspension, but it’s uncertain what led to the temporary ban. Wilson was a first-round pick by the Titans in 2020 but got into only one game with Tennessee before getting shipped off to Miami. He was waived by Miami after showing up late to his team physical, and his practice squad stint with New York only lasted one season.
Max Garcia is an experienced addition to the Saints OL room, with the veteran having most recently started seven of his 12 appearances with the Cardinals in 2022. The 31-year-old has 59 games of starting experience, although Pro Football Focus was iffy on his production last year (63rd among 77 qualifying offensive guards).
Following a three-year stint in Cleveland, Terrance Mitchell has spent the past two seasons bouncing around the NFL. He got into 14 games (13 starts) for the Texans in 2021, finishing with 60 tackles and 10 passes defended. He spent the 2022 season with the Titans, finishing with 39 tackles in 11 games (five starts). 49ers fifth-round pick Darrell Luter Jr. is set to miss some time with a knee injury, providing Mitchell with an opportunity during training camp.
Jones suffered his second concussion this season, and Mitchell sustained a hamstring injury against the Chargers. Neither player could return until the divisional round of the playoffs, but the Titans’ injury issues overall will present a test to merely qualify for the postseason.
Tennessee will face Houston with Malik Willis under center and its offensive line banged up. Taylor Lewan has been out since September, and guard Nate Davis joins Jones in being sidelined. The Titans ruled out Davis because of an ankle injury. The team also placed tackle Dillon Radunz on IR on Wednesday. The team elevated O-lineman Daniel Munyer from its practice squad Thursday. Lewan is a Pro Bowler, while Pro Football Focus has slotted Jones as a top-10 center and Davis a top-20 guard. The Titans will face the Texans without their three best blockers.
Drawing praise for his toughness this season from Mike Vrabel, Jones has signed three contracts with the Titans. The rare O-lineman to sign four multiyear deals during his career, Jones inked his most recent accord this offseason. Tennessee gave its longtime center a two-year, $14MM pact to return to block for Tannehill and Derrick Henry. Jones, 33, had been an iron man coming into this season, missing just one game over his first 10 years. By the end of this season, he will have missed five contests. The former Texans fourth-round pick has started 151 career games (108 with the Titans).
Tennessee’s draft strategy did not point to Mitchell being required to play a key role this season, but the journeyman cornerback has made five starts. Tennessee’s 2021 first-round pick, Caleb Farley, struggled to carve out a role and is now out for the season with another injury. Regular starter Kristian Fulton, a 2020 second-round pick, has not played since Week 13. The Titans have ruled out Fulton for a third straight game. Slot man Elijah Molden remains on IR, having been placed on the injured list for a second time.
Despite being one of the Patriots’ final cuts in August, Mitchell has played 398 snaps for the Titans this season. The former seventh-round pick has been a regular for most of his career, having seen extensive run as a starter for the Chiefs, Browns and Texans. Of the Titans’ top five corners, only second-round rookie Roger McCreary is healthy.
The Titans have run into rampant injury issues for a second consecutive year. They used an NFL-record 91 players last season and are moving toward that total this year. Tennessee has a league-high 19 players on IR heading into Week 16. Owner Amy Adams Strunk cited the team’s injury problems as one of the reasons GM Jon Robinson was fired. Tennessee has two IR activations left. The team designated linebacker Zach Cunningham for return last week; an activation would leave them with one IR-return move left.
FiveThirtyEight gives the Titans a 46% chance to win the division. Friendlier odds would appear if the Jaguars lose to the Jets on Thursday night. If the Titans miss the playoffs, they would join only the 2021 Ravens as teams to start 7-3 or better and miss out since 2017.
September 21st, 2022 at 4:42pm CST by Sam Robinson
Another Takkarist McKinley relocation is on tap. The veteran pass rusher, who had caught on with the Titans’ practice squad last week, is now L.A.-bound.
The Rams will sign McKinley off that Tennessee taxi squad, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This move will reunite McKinley with Rams DC Raheem Morris, who formerly served as a Falcons assistant head coach and interim HC during McKinley’s time in Atlanta, and signal a return to Los Angeles. McKinley, 26, is a UCLA alum.
A former first-round pick, McKinley has bounced around the league since his Falcons stay ended during the 2020 season. He was claimed three times on waivers after that Falcons cut; the 49ers, Bengals and Raiders claimed him that year. The young edge defender landed with the Raiders, but an injury prevented him from playing any games.
Last year, McKinley caught on with the Browns, who used him mostly as a rotational player behind Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. Late in a 2.5-sack 2021 season, McKinley went down with an Achilles tear in late December. That took the five-year veteran out of the mix for several months, but interest picked up around training camp. Although the Titans lost Harold Landry to an ACL tear just before the season, they chose not to promote McKinley to their active roster to prevent this Rams poaching.
With Von Miller now in Buffalo, Leonard Floyd anchors the defending champions’ edge-rushing corps. Considerable uncertainty exists behind Floyd. The Rams have Justin Hollins and former third-round pick Terrell Lewis as their top non-Floyd options on the edge. While McKinley is far from a sure thing at this point in his career, which has taken a downturn since some late-2010s Falcons production, he has made 27 career starts and totaled 20 sacks. Thirteen of those came between the 2017 and ’18 seasons. Morris was on Atlanta’s staff throughout McKinley’s time with the team.
This has been a rather interesting, as far as practice squads go, day for the Titans’ P-squad. Prior to losing McKinley, Tennessee signed safety Andrew Adams off the Steelers’ taxi squad and added cornerback Terrance Mitchell off the Patriots’ 16-man squad.
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 Bills, Dolphins, Jets and Patriots moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s AFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
The Patriots acknowledged some of their previous draft mistakes today. The team let go of three 2021 draft picks in wide receiver Tre Nixon, linebacker Will Sherman, and linebacker Cameron McGrone, and they even let go of a 2022 draft pick in sixth-round running back Kevin Harris. However, perhaps the biggest move was releasing tight end end Devin Asiasi. After waiving fellow 2020 third-round tight end Dalton Keene earlier this month, Asiasi was let go today. Despite his third-round status, Asiasi only saw time in 10 games for the Patriots in two years. With Asiasi and Keene out of the picture, it was expected that Lil’Jordan Humphrey would make the squad as a hybrid WR/TE. However, for the time being, the Patriots will roll with only two tight ends in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.
Terrance Mitchell started 29 games over the past two seasons in stints with the Browns and Texans, and he had a chance to compete for a starting gig in New England. However, despite all the uncertainty surrounding the position, the veteran wasn’t able to make his mark, leading to a surprising release. Justin Bethel is another surprising cut, as the veteran has established himself as a special teams ace in recent years.
The Patriots intend to part ways with one of their projected starters in the secondary. New England will release cornerback Terrance Mitchelltoday, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss (Twitter link).
The 30-year-old suffered the same fate in March, when the Texans moved on from him. That ended his one-year stay in Houston, during which he started 13 of 14 contests, totaling 60 tackles, one interception and 10 passes defensed. He allowed a sub-60% completion rate in coverage, but was responsible for five touchdowns allowed, the second-highest figure of his career in that regard.
Without Mitchell (not to mention J.C. Jackson, who inked a big-money deal with the Chargers in free agency), New England will move forward with Mills and Jonathan Jones on the perimeter, along with rookies Marcus Jonesand Jack Jones as depth options. The absences of Butler and Williams could leave the Patriots as a logical landing spot for a late addition at the position.
New England is also waiving rookie RB Kevin Harris, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). The sixth-rounder took a step back in terms of production during his final season at South Carolina, but has an 1,138-yard, 15-touchdown campaign to his name. He will, presumably, be a practice squad candidate for the team to use as insurance behind Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, Ty Montgomeryand fellow rookie Pierre Strong Jr.
After seven years with the rival Dolphins, wide receiver DeVante Parkeris set to be a difference-maker in the Patriots offense this season, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. With the early days of camp in New England focusing on the red zone, Parker’s 6’3″, 219 lb. frame has been on full display.
Here are a few other notes from Patriots training camp, as reported by Reiss:
After spending last season with Isaiah Wynn at left tackle and Trent Brown at right tackle, spring ball saw the two swap sides. Head coach Bill Belichick downplayed it as a way to build versatility in his top offensive linemen, a worthwhile trait to shield from injury, but it may end up being a permanent change. As New England opened up training camp this week, Wynn and Brown remained switched at right and left tackle, respectively. Brown has even reportedly been “feeling (at) home” on the left side of the line.
According to Reiss, one of the biggest remaining question marks on the Patriots’ roster is at cornerback opposite Jalen Mills. The top-two options so far in camp have been veterans Terrance Mitchell and Malcolm Butler. Mitchell got the first opportunity of camp and received praise from Belichick in early practices. Butler returns to the team this summer after a three-year vacation in Nashville and a one-year retirement after signing to play for the Cardinals. He admits he’s still “getting in shape” after not playing at all in 2021. Reiss reports that rookie fourth-round pick Jack Jones is next in line, ahead of rookie third-round pick Marcus Jones, and returning backups Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Justin Bethel, and Shaun Wade.
The 29-year-old joined the Texans last offseason, inking a two-year, $7.5MM deal. He started 13 of his 14 games during his lone season in Houston, collecting 60 tackles, ten passes defended, and one interception. He ended up seeing time in 69% of his team’s defensive snaps, and he garnered the second-most defensive snaps (796) in Houston.
Mitchell previously spent three seasons in Cleveland, starting 27 of his 39 games. He’s also had stints with the Bears, Cowboys, and Chiefs.
Now, he’s the Patriots first out-of-house signing of 2022. He might not be a top-tier corner, but he could help to offset the loss of J.C. Jackson, the Pats’ former leading cornerback who joined the Chargers on a five-year, $82.5MM deal this week.