Vick Ballard

NFL Workout Updates: 11/1/16

Tuesday is workout day in the NFL, and today was no different. Due to the sheer volume of today’s auditions, we’ll split up the reports by conference:



Saints Sign Sheldon Rankins

The Saints have secured three of their 2016 draft picks, including their top two selections, general manager Mickey Loomis formally announced today in a press release. In addition to signing first-round defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, second-round wide receiver Michael Thomas, and seventh-round running back Daniel Lasco, the club parted ways with running back Vick Ballard, defensive end Phillip Hunt, and fullback Toben Opurum.Saints general helmet (Featured)

All three veterans cut today by New Orleans have appeared in regular-season NFL games. Ballard notably ran for 814 yards and a pair of touchdowns during the 2012 season, when he served as the Colts’ primary back for most of the year. Hunt, 30, has been a part-time player for the Eagles and Lions in parts of four seasons since 2011, picking up four career sacks. Opurum, meanwhile, appeared in his first two regular-season games for the Saints in 2015.

As for the Saints’ draft pick signings, Rankins’ deal represents the most significant of the three, of course — it’s worth $12.802MM over four years, with a $7.51MM signing bonus and a fifth-year option for 2020. Thomas will receive a signing bonus of $1.923MM on his four-year rookie pact, while Lasco will get a modest $75K bonus.

No NFL team had a smaller 2016 draft class than the Saints, who selected just five players, so New Orleans has now locked up more than half of its draftees.

Saints Sign Vick Ballard

The Saints have signed running back Vick Ballard to a reserve/futures deal, as Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune writes. Vick Ballard (vertical)

After consecutive years of tearing his ACL, Ballard’s status with the Colts was said to be on the rocks prior to the 2015 season thanks to a hamstring injury. Ultimately, he was unable to make an impression on the coaching staff and front office in the offseason and his health situation led him to getting waived in mid-September.

Ballard, 26 in July, broke out in 2012, his rookie season with the Colts. The fifth-round draft pick ran for 814 yards off of 211 carries, good for an average of 3.9 yards per attempt. However, he has yet to do much ever since thanks to the aforementioned ACL problems. He did not sign with another NFL team last season and, last we heard, he auditioned for the Bears in December. Nearly five months later, he has finally found his new NFL home.

Reserve/futures contracts essentially function like regular free agent deals, except that only players who didn’t finish the previous season on an NFL team’s active roster can sign them. So a player on a practice squad could ink a futures contract, and many have in recent weeks. These deals are known as “futures” contracts because they don’t technically go into effect until the new league year begins. For more on reserve/futures deals, check out this detailed explanation from Pro Football Rumors.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Workout Notes: Bears, Broncos, Patriots

Clubs continue to update their emergency lists as the season winds down, so let’s take a look at the latest workouts from around the league…

  • We’ve learned the names of half of the eight players the Broncos worked out today, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (via Twitter) that in addition to the previously-reported Still, Denver tried out defensive end DeAngelo Tyson, linebacker Dekoda Watson, and defensive tackle Phil Taylor.
  • The Colts also tried out a couple of additional players, including kick returner Demarius Washington and defensive back Terell Floyd, tweets Wilson.
  • Looking for depth along their front seven, the Texans worked out linebackers Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo and Xzavier Dickson, per Wilson (Twitter link).

Earlier updates:

  • The Bears auditioned six players today, including running backs Vick Ballard and Alonzo Harris, receiver Chris Harper, and defensive linemen Davon Coleman, Euclid Cummings, and Keith Browner (Twitter links via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune). The 25-year-old Ballard is the most notable name here, as he ran for more than 800 yards during his rookie season with the Colts before suffering a string of injuries.
  • Not to be outdone, the Broncos tried out eight players, including former Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, per Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter link). Still, a former second-round pick, hasn’t played in 2015, but after announcing last month that his daughter’s cancer is in remission, he surely has many around the NFL rooting for him.
  • The Patriots brought in a pair of CFL defensive ends for workouts, auditioning Freddie Bishop and Cleyon Laing earlier today, according to Mike Reiss of (Twitter link).

Extra Points: Foles, Benjamin, Dolphins

Earlier tonight, the Rams announced that they will be benching quarterback Nick Foles in favor of backup Case Keenum. However, coach Jeff Fisher told reporters that, at some point, Foles will resume starting duties.

Nick also understands that he eventually will be under center for us again,” Fisher said (via Mike Florio of PFT). “But this is my decision based on what I think is best for this team offensively is to go this direction.”

While we wait to see how things shake out in St. Louis, here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said in the wake of the team’s 30-9 loss to the Steelers that he doesn’t expect to make any changes to the coaching staff as the club enters its bye week. However, it seems increasingly likely that an offseason house-cleaning is around the corner, according to Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal, who doesn’t envision GM Ray Farmer hanging onto his current position.
  • Despite the Browns‘ struggles this season, wide receiver Travis Benjamin says his desire to re-sign with the team remains unchanged, adding that he’s willing to stick with the franchise for the long haul, tweets Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.
  • Sources tell Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports that Dolphins executive VP of football operations Mike Tannenbaum currently has a “strong say” when it comes to who plays on Sundays for Miami. Interim head coach Dan Campbell seems to be fine with that, and Garafolo wonders if that makes Campbell a stronger candidate to land the permanent job, since other candidates may not be able to co-exist as well with Tannenbaum, who likes to have input on game-day decisions.
  • Former Ravens defensive tackle Terrence Cody has been acquitted of the most serious animal cruelty charges levied against him, as Alison Knezevich of The Baltimore Sun tweets. However, Cody was convicted of multiple neglect charges.
  • The Saints worked out linebacker Brad Jones and running back Vick Ballard today, according to Field Yates of (on Twitter).

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/22/15

As usual, plenty of teams around the NFL are shaking up their rosters a little on the Tuesday following a full slate of games. Here are today’s minor moves:

  • Cowboys defensive tackle Terrell McClain is done for the season with a badly sprained big toe, reports Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram adds (via Twitter) that the team has placed McClain on injured reserve.
  • The Cardinals have cut running back Kerwynn Williams in order to make room for offensive tackle Bobby Massie, who is returning from a two-game suspension, says Darren Urban of (Twitter link). We’ll see if Arizona re-adds Williams or another running back to the roster before the club’s Week 3 game, with Andre Ellington likely to be sidelined again. The Cardinals also cut Travis Harvey from injured reserve with an injury settlement, Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post tweets.
  • With Jay Cutler injured, the Bears activated quarterback David Fales from the taxi squad to the active roster, as Field Yates of tweets. To make room, the Bears waived Bryce Callahan, Jeff Dickerson of tweets.
  • Washington linebacker Martrell Spaight, a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft, has been placed on injured reserve due to a concussion, tweets Tarik El-Bashir of The move opens up a roster spot for reinstated cornerback Chris Culliver.
  • Besides Massie, Culliver, and Vikings cornerback Jabari Price, whose reinstatement we noted yesterday, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell and Chargers offensive lineman Craig Watts are returning from suspensions this week, per Wilson (Twitter link). Pittsburgh and San Diego will have roster exemptions until tomorrow afternoon for those players.
  • The Colts have made a change at the cornerback spot, signing veteran free agent Josh Thomas and waiving Eric Patterson, owner Jim Irsay announced today (via Twitter). Perhaps more notably, the team an injury settlement with running back Vick Ballard, officially removing him from the roster. Ballard, who hasn’t played a game since the 2013 season, will become a free agent if and when he clears waivers.
  • The Dolphins are signing linebacker and special-teamer Terrell Manning, according to Wilson. The 25-year-old has already appeared in regular season games for five different NFL teams since entering the league in 2012.
  • With Austin Seferian-Jenkins set to miss some games, the Buccaneers are signing tight end Cameron Brate off the Saints‘ practice squad, tweets Adam Caplan of Brate started the season on Tampa Bay’s taxi squad before he landed on New Orleans’ unit last week.
  • The Buccaneers have also have also signed free agent defensive end Josh Martin and waived defensive end Kourtnei Brown, Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune tweets.
  • The Ravens waived running back Terrence Magee to open up spot for newly-acquired cornerback Will Davis, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun tweets.
  • The Raiders cut Tevin McDonald, Wilson tweets.

Extra Points: Pats, Julio, Fluker, Cooper

The DeflateGate scandal reentered the news Thursday when Mark Baltz, the NFL’s head linesman from 1989-2013, voiced his suspicion regarding recently reinstated Patriots employee Jim McNally. In response, Jim Daopoulos – the league’s ex-supervisor of officials and one of Baltz’s former bosses – defended McNally.

“In all my years working with locker-room attendants, Jim McNally, without a doubt, is probably one of the most professional of all the locker-room attendants in the National Football League,” Daopoulos said, according to “And that can be attested by all the officials working in the National Football League.”

“I really don’t know what Mark’s agenda is right here,” Daopoulos added.

Other news from around the league:

  • Although Falcons star receiver Julio Jones has been limited this week with a hamstring injury, head coach Dan Quinn says there’s “zero” chance he’ll miss their game Sunday, per The Associated Press. Jones lit up the Eagles for nine catches, 141 yards and two touchdowns in Monday’s win. He’ll look to do something similar against the Giants this week.
  • Chargers guard D.J. Fluker was carted off the field with an ankle injury during the team’s Week 1 win over Detroit, and there was concern that he’d miss anywhere from four to six weeks. Instead, Fluker will only miss a couple weeks, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. In the meantime, Chris Hairston will take his spot as the starting right guard.
  • Raiders receiver Amari Cooper harbors no ill will toward Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, who avoided a suspension after ripping Cooper’s helmet off his head and slamming his head against the ground in Cincy’s win last week. “I didn’t want him to get suspended,” Cooper said, per Scott Bair of “He was just playing football and playing physical like you’re supposed to. I’m past all that now. I’m trying to focus on the Ravens.” (Twitter links: 1; 2).
  • Seahawks rookie defensive end Frank Clark is a situation player – for now, anyway – and using Richard Sherman in the slot enables the team to get its three best cornerbacks on the field, D-coordinator Kris Richard said (Twitter link via The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta).
  • The Colts’ decision to waive/injured running back Vick Ballard prior to Week 1 remains a curious one, writes Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. They did it to open up a spot for inside linebacker Josh McNary, but they have a logjam of ILBs. On the other hand, they’re lacking at running back behind starter Frank Gore.

Colts Waive Vick Ballard

The Colts have waived running back Vick Ballard with an injured designation, Ian Rapoport of tweets.

After consecutive years of tearing his ACL, Ballard’s status with the Colts was said to be on the rocks this summer thanks to a hamstring injury. Ballard was unable to make an impression on the coaching staff and front office in the offseason and now, the injury bug has him jettisoned from the Colts’ roster.

Ballard, 25, broke out in 2012, his rookie season with the Colts. The fifth-round draft pick ran for 814 yards off of 211 carries, good for an average of 3.9 yards per attempt. However, he has yet to do much ever since thanks to the aforementioned ACL problems.

AFC South Notes: Jones, Ballard, Jaguars

X-rays on Arthur Jones ankle were negative, but the Colts defensive lineman also had an MRI scheduled for Sunday, per Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter). Josina Anderson of ESPN reported that Jones went to a foot and ankle specialist after his MRI (via Twitter). He is expected to miss a “decent chunk of time” according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (via Twitter).

Here are some other notes from around the AFC South:

  • Regardless of whether Jones sustained a serious ankle injury or not on Saturday night, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report believes the Colts should bring in free agent DT Barry Cofield (Twitter link).
  • After consecutive years of tearing his ACL, Vick Ballard’s tenure with the Colts is on the chopping block following a hamstring injury has prevented him from making an impression on the coaching staff and front office this summer, writes Mike Wells of ESPN.
  • The Jaguars have two kickers on the roster in Josh Scobee and Jason Meyers, and Ryan O’Halloran of is guessing that the team is hoping to trade one of them this week before cutting its roster down to 75 players by Tuesday.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.

Extra Points: Cobb, Pouncey, Okung

A week after losing Pro Bowl receiver Jordy Nelson to a season-ending ACL injury, the Packers are hoping fellow Pro Bowl wideout Randall Cobb doesn’t join him on the shelf. Cobb suffered a right shoulder injury during the Packers’ game Saturday against Philadelphia. The severity of the ailment is currently unknown, but one injury that has been ruled out is a broken collarbone, Ian Rapoport of tweeted. A serious injury to Cobb would be a devastating blow to the Packers, given that their receiving corps already lost Nelson. He and Cobb combined for a whopping 189 catches (25 of which were touchdowns) and nearly 3,000 yards last year.

More from around the NFL:

  • Dolphins center Mike Pouncey hurt his left knee during Saturday’s game against Atlanta and will have to undergo an MRI on Sunday. Pouncey, who is wearing a brace, vows not to miss any regular-season time, Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports (Twitter link). Head coach Joe Philbin also expressed optimism regarding Pouncey’s injury. “We think he’ll be OK,” he said, per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (via Twitter).
  • Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung will probably use the five-year, $66MM extension Washington signed Trent Williams to earlier today as a benchmark for his next deal, according to CBS Sports’ Joel Corry (via Twitter). Okung, who’s in a contract year, was the sixth overall selection in the 2010 draft, going two picks after Williams. Okung has since made 59 starts and one Pro Bowl, while Williams has made 70 and three, respectively.
  • Don’t count on a reunion between the Giants and free agent safety Stevie Brown, writes Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. The Giants are scheduled to work out Brown, but he has interest from “a number of teams,” according to his agent. Brown spent 2012-14 with the Giants before a brief stint in Houston this year.
  • The Colts scratched running back Vick Ballard from Saturday’s game in St. Louis. That doesn’t bode well for his chances of making the roster, according to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. Ballard has battled serious injuries over the past couple years and has played in just one game since 2012 as a result.
  • Lions running back Joique Bell, who underwent knee surgery in January, is unsure if he’ll play Week 1. “I’m not going to say I’m ready to go out there and take every play and run every down, right now, but you never know how I’ll feel in two weeks,” Bell said, according to Justin Rogers of The fourth-year man is coming off his most productive season (1,182 total yards, eight touchdowns).
  • Patriots fullback James Develin suffered a broken tibia in Friday’s loss to Carolina, and ESPN’s Mike Reiss tweeted that the hope is recovery from surgery will take six to eight weeks. However, David Chao – the former team doctor for the Chargers – responded that it could actually take Develin six to eight months to return (Twitter link).