Victor Butler

Giants Re-Sign Stevie Brown

MONDAY, 10:56am: The Giants have officially re-signed Brown, the team announced today (Twitter link). Linebacker Victor Butler was cut to create space on the roster, tweets Raanan.

SUNDAY, 9:30am: After it was first reported yesterday that Brown would work out for the Giants, we heard that he would not work out for any teams, as he had multiple offers in hand, and that Big Blue fans should not count on a reunion between Brown and the safety-starved squad. Now, though, Jordan Raanan of writes that Brown is expected to sign with the Giants. Raanan cites two individuals with knowledge of the situation who wished to remain anonymous since the deal has not been finalized.

SATURDAY, 1:41pm: A reunion between the Giants and now-free agent safety Stevie Brown makes plenty of sense now that Brown’s former employer is the most safety-starved team in the league and Brown needs a job.

The Giants will bring in Brown, whom they decided not to re-sign this offseason after the 2010 seventh-rounder played three seasons for the team from 2012-14, for a visit early next week, according to the New York Daily News’ Ralph Vacchiano.

Released by the Texans on Friday, Brown has several teams pursuing him, according to Vacchiano. Of course, that information comes from Brown’s agent, so that may be a market-stirring maneuver. Nevertheless, with Big Blue having lost Mykkele Thompson, Bennett Jackson and Justin Currie for the season and Nat Berhe for possibly a substantial portion of it after he underwent surgery Saturday, Brown’s release came at an ideal time for the Giants.

Brown signed a one-year, $3MM contract this offseason with the Texans, but the team released him early since the coaching staff determined he wouldn’t make Houston’s 53-man roster and wanted to give him a head start in finding a landing spot. The 28-year-old’s signature NFL span remains his eight-interception 2012 slate with the Giants, but a torn ACL a year later and a substandard season in 2014 upon returning from that injury led Big Blue to allow him to leave in free agency and seek younger replacements.

With those younger talents dropping at a rapid pace, with second-rounder Landon Collins also recovering from a sprained MCL that’s not expected to keep him out of debuting in Week 1, scrap-heap free agents Brandon Merriweather and Jeromy Miles are Big Blue’s healthy bodies at the position.

With Brown entering just his sixth year and reportedly healthy, this potential NFC East reunion is a lot more plausible than Chris Cooley‘s recent push at returning to Washington.

NFC East Notes: Williams, Butler, Collins

As Trent Williams enters his final year of his rookie contract,’s Rich Tandler examines whether Washington needs to re-up its best lineman at a top-end price.

The three-time Pro Bowl left tackle’s rookie deal signed under the old CBA and its lavish sums for high draft choices has Williams occupying more than $13MM of Washington’s cap this season — by far the highest figure on the team. The contracts for Tyron Smith ($12.2MM per year) and Joe Thomas ($11.5MM per) are probably what Williams, who left agent Ben Dogra, will use to negotiate with the struggling franchise. But Tandler offers another reality where the team drafts his potential successor in the first or second round this year and plays him at right tackle before allowing Williams to get his money elsewhere in 2016.

Although Tandler still bets Williams receives his checks in D.C. after this deal expires, he expands on Greg Cosell’s analysis from a recent podcast which illustrates a change in thinking regarding the importance of the blind-side protector.

Most coaches, when they put together pass-protection concepts, they will slide the protection to one side or the other. You can slide the protection to the left. You can slide the protection to the right. The left tackle, just by gospel now these days, has become the most important position. But it’s not necessarily that way,” Cosell said to podcast host Andy Benoit.

Here are some more rumors coming out of the NFC East on Friday afternoon …

  • LSU offensive tackle La’el Collins visited the Eagles last week, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Collins is projected as a mid- to late first-round selection as a right tackle.
  • The Cowboys worked out quarterback Bryce Petty last week at Baylor, Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on Twitter.
  • Linebacker Victor Butler drew a four-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, becoming the fifth Giants player in five years to do so, reports Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. The former Cowboys, Saints, Cardinals and Colts backer signed a reserve/futures contract with the Giants and should now be considered unlikely to make the roster or possibly make it to training camp. Butler, 27, joins Eric Herman, Will Hill, Tyler Sash and Jimmy Kennedy as Giants who’ve been suspended for PEDs since 2011, reports Vacchiano.
  • Robert Griffin‘s injury history makes Washington picking up the 2012 rookie of the year’s fifth-year option, at $16.16MM salary guaranteed against injury, an ill-advised move, writes ESPN’s John Keim. Washington has until May 3 to use this on Griffin.

Minor Moves: Monday

We’ll keep tabs on Monday’s minor transactions from around the NFL in this space, with the latest moves added to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • The Rams have signed to two players to reserve/futures deal, adding tight end Brad Smelley and punter Michael Palardy, per Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link).
  • The Giants have added a veteran to their offseason roster by singing linebacker Victor Butler to a reserve/futures deal, according to Field Yates of (via Twitter). Butler, 27, played for the Cowboys from 2009-12, but has bounced around in recent years, spending time with the Saints, Cardinals, and Colts in the past two seasons.

Earlier updates:

  • In addition to formally announcing the signing of DeMarcus Van Dyke (noted below), the Vikings also tweeted out word of their signings of defensive end Leon Mackey and defensive tackle Chigbo Anunoby.
  • The Jaguars announced three signings today, two of which had been previously reported. The new one is kicker Derek Dimke, who inked a reserve/futures contract with the team, per John Oehser of (via Twitter).
  • Washington also confirmed a handful of signings that had already been reported, and added one more to the list. According to the club (via Twitter), former Abilene Christian wideout Braylon Bell has signed a futures deal.
  • Tight end Dorin Dickerson has signed a reserve/futures contract with the Titans, tweets Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. The team removed Dickerson from their IR list back in August with a settlement, but worked him out again in November.
  • The Vikings have signed cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke to a one-year futures contract, a league source tells Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Van Dyke was placed on injured reserve by the Chiefs at the end of the 2014 preseason, and was later released with an injury settlement.
  • The Buccaneers have added three players to their list of reserve/futures signings for 2015, according to Scott Smith of (Twitter link). The most notable player in the trio is safety M.D. Jennings, who spent his first three seasons with the Packers before being signed and cut by the Bears in 2014. Tampa Bay also signed tight end Taylor Sloat and punter Chase Tenpenny, whose agreement was previously reported.
  • Having previously signed nine of their 10 practice squad players to reserve/futures contracts for the 2015 season, the Eagles made it a clean sweep today, announcing that linebacker Brandon Hepburn had inked a deal of his own (Twitter link).

Audition Notes: Tuesday

Wide receiver Luke Tasker, the son former Bills receiver Steve Tasker, worked out for the Packers, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (via Twitter). The younger Tasker, also a wide receiver, currently plays for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. We’ll keep track of today’s workouts and visits here..

NFC East Notes: Coughlin, Gruden, McCoy

While many observers have predicted that the Giants will replace head coach Tom Coughlin at season’s end, those who know co-owner John Mara “are convinced” he doesn’t want to fire Coughlin and is no lock to do so, writes Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. As Vacchiano points out, Mara and fellow co-owner Steve Tisch could come up with several compelling reasons to keep Coughlin around, including a desire to maintain stability and a lack of star candidates to replace him.

As we wait to see how the Giants finish the season and how that affects Coughlin’s future in New York, let’s check in on a few other items from around the NFC East….

  • As Dianna Marie Russini of NBC Washington tweets, Washington head coach Jay Gruden acknowledged to reporters yesterday that jobs will be on line for his team during the final three weeks of the season. With whispers that Gruden could be one-and-done in Washington, his own job may be one that’s on the line down the stretch.
  • According to reports from Mike Jones of the Washington Post and John Keim of (Twitter link), the neck injury sustained by Washington quarterback Colt McCoy on Sunday is not believed to be serious or career-threatening, and McCoy could even be healthy enough to play in Week 15.
  • After signing a contract extension with the team in the offseason, Eagles wideout Riley Cooper hasn’t provided the same sort of big plays he did a year ago, but head coach Chip Kelly is pleased with Cooper’s play, writes Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • The Giants took a look at a pair of defensive players yesterday, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, who tweets that the club brought in linebacker Victor Butler and defensive end Gerald Rivers for tryouts.
  • Having been cut by the Titans last week, cornerback Brandon Ghee was among a handful of players to work out for Washington, tweets Wilson. The club also auditioned cornerback Qua Cox, offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe, defensive back Justin Rogers, and defensive lineman Shawn Lemon, who is coming off a 13-sack season with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders.

Workout Notes: Colts, Jaguars, Browns, Broncos

In our roundup of several AFC East and NFC East items this morning, we passed along word on a handful of free agents who recently worked out for East teams. Across the rest of the league, several more auditions took place, so we’ll take a look at all those updates right here. All links are from Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, and go to Twitter:

  • The Colts brought in a few notable free agents for tryouts, taking a look at running back Mikel Leshoure, ex-Jets cornerback Ellis Lankster, and former LSU wideout Kadron Boone. Of the three players, Leshoure is the most interesting name, considering Indianapolis is believed to be considering adding running back depth.
  • Linebacker A.J. Edds ultimately signed with the Jaguars, joining the team’s active roster yesterday, but Edds also worked out for the Bengals earlier in the week. Additionally, Jacksonville auditioned veteran linebacker Victor Butler before deciding on Edds.
  • Browns kicker Billy Cundiff has had his ups and downs this season, missing six field goals, including three from less than 40 yards. While I don’t expect Cleveland to replace him, the team did take a look at a couple other kickers this week, bringing in Michael Barnard and Zach Hocker.
  • The Broncos worked out an extensive list of players this week, and Wilson has all the previously-unreported names: Rodney Barnes (S), Deion Belue (CB), Kenny Horsley (DE), M.D. Jennings (S), Vernon Kearney (CB), Keon Lyn (CB), Leon Mackey (DL), Ross Madison (S), and Danny Mason (LB).
  • In addition to trying out wideout Jace Davis, who signed with their practice squad, the Texans auditioned quarterback Brad Sorensen and several other receivers, including Rashad Ross, Willie Snead, and former Niner Kyle Williams.
  • Former Cardinals defensive end Ronald Talley worked out for the Chiefs. Talley spent some time with the Buccaneers earlier this year, but was removed from the roster prior to the regular season.
  • The Packers tried out cornerback Lavelle Westbrooks, a 2014 seventh-round pick waived by the Bengals during the preseason.
  • Tight end Xavier Grimble, who hit the open market once again last week after a brief stint with the Patriots’ practice squad, worked out for the Panthers.

Colts Claim Shaun Phillips Off Waivers

A week after missing out on claiming a running back off waivers, the Colts have added a veteran pass rusher via the waiver process, according to a team press release. Indianapolis has been awarded former Titans outside linebacker Shaun Phillips, the club announced today.

Phillips, 33, played nine seasons for the Chargers before joining the Broncos last season and then signing with the Titans this past March. The veteran inked a two-year, $5MM contract with Tennessee, but wasn’t overly effective in a part-time role this season, recording just a pair of sacks after reaching double-digits in 2013. He was released yesterday by the club.

With the Titans going younger at the linebacker position, the division-rival Colts are the beneficiaries, snagging Phillips off waivers in the hopes that he can contribute to a pass rush that has been a little lacking at times this season. While the Colts have recorded a respectable 28 sacks as a team, only a handful have come from their outside linebackers, a group that has been without injured Pro Bowler Robert Mathis all year.

The Colts, who put in a claim for Ben Tate last week, but missed out on him to the Vikings, waived linebacker Victor Butler to make their claim of Phillips official. Butler, having been signed earlier this week, had only been with the team for two days before being cut, though he has been off and on the roster multiple times this season, and could return at some point.

Colts To Sign Victor Butler

The Colts are set to sign linebacker Victor Butler, according to Mike Chappell of the Indy Star (on Twitter). To make room, Indianapolis will waive defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles.

Butler, 27, was released by the Colts less than a week ago. The former fourth round pick of the Cowboys has shown promise but he missed last year with a torn ACL while with the Saints. The pass rush specialist signed with the Cardinals in mid-September but his stay in Arizona was brief as he was released on October 1st. In his four seasons in Dallas (2009-2012), Butler totaled 11 sacks and 68 tackles.

Quarles, 22, appeared in two games for the Colts this season and registered a sack in their week three win against the Jaguars.

Colts Sign Josh Cribbs, Put Bradshaw On IR

1:55pm: The Colts have officially announced the signing of Cribbs, placing Ahmad Bradshaw on season-ending injured reserve in a corresponding move, tweets Mike Chappell of RTV6. The club also cut linebacker Victor Butler and signed tight end Weslye Saunders, an indication that Dwayne Allen may not be active in Week 12.

10:48am: The Colts are signing former Browns return man Josh Cribbs, a source confirms to Mary Kay Cabot of (Twitter link), who says the move should become official later today. Zac Jackson of FOX Sports Ohio first reported (via Twitter) that Cribbs was heading to Indianapolis.

Cribbs, 31, was one of the most explosive punt and kick returners in the league earlier in his career, tallying 11 total return touchdowns — three on punts and eight more on kicks. The three-time Pro Bowler played for the Jets for a portion of last season after spending most of his career in Cleveland, and hadn’t been on an NFL roster to this point in 2014.

Given Cribbs’ limited value as an offensive player, the Colts likely intend to use him primarily as a returner. For most of the season, 24-year-old wideout Griff Whalen has returned punts and kicks for the club, and has been passable. Whalen has yet to return a kickoff more than 32 yards or a punt more than 22 yards, however, so installing Cribbs as the new return man should give Indianapolis more big-play potential on special teams.

Colts Sign Victor Butler, Waive Chris Carter

The Colts have signed free agent outside linebacker Victor Butler to the active roster and waived outside linebacker Chris Carter, according to team Assistant Director of Communications Matt Conti (via Twitter).

Butler, 27, was a former fourth round pick of the Cowboys and showed promise but unfortunately missed last year with a torn ACL while with the Saints. The pass rush specialist signed with the Cardinals in mid-September but his stay in Arizona was brief as he was released on October 1st. In his four seasons in Dallas (2009-2012), Butler totaled 11 sacks and 68 tackles.

Carter, 25, made a cameo in the Colts’ 41-17 win over the Titans last Sunday. Prior to joining the Colts, all of Carter’s NFL experience came in Pittsburgh where he appeared in 29 NFL games and made four starts.