Wesley Johnson

NFL Workout Updates: 9/10/19

We’ve got another busy day of workouts, with many teams across the league hosting players.

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

49ers Sign C Wesley Johnson

The 49ers signed center Wesley Johnson, according to a team announcement. To make room, the club waived tight end Marcus Lucas

[RELATED: 49ers, DeForest Buckner Far Apart On Talks]

Johnson spent 2015-2017 with the Jets and became their starting center in 2016 after injuries halted Nick Mangold‘s career. Then, last season, he hooked on with the Dolphins and appeared in ten contests.

With the Niners, Johnson could serve as a backup behind starter Weston Richburg, who underwent knee surgery in January. The expectation is that Richburg will be ready in time for training camp, but recovery timetables off of knee surgery are notoriously unreliable.

Lucas, meanwhile, will seek yet another NFL home. He’s bounced around the league since entering in 2014, but has yet to see time in a regular season contest.

Dolphins Sign C Wesley Johnson

The Dolphins have signed free agent center Wesley Johnson and placed fellow pivot Daniel Kilgore on injured reserve, the club announced today. Miami also promoted defensive tackle Cameron Malveaux and confirmed the previously-reported release of defensive tackle Jordan Phillips.

Johnson, 27, has appeared in 31 games (23 starts) with the Jets over the past two seasons. The 2014 fifth-round pick out of Vanderbilt joined the Lions earlier this offseason, but he was released by the team at the end of the preseason. Since then, Johnson has worked out with the Vikings and Ravens. He auditioned for the Dolphins earlier today, and he’ll know slide in behind Travis Swanson on Miami’s center depth chart.

Kilgore, meanwhile, suffered a torn pectoral in Week 4, so he’d been fully expected to land on injured reserve. While Kilgore is technically eligible to return later this season, the nature of his injury likely means he’s done for the year. Kilgore signed an extension with the 49ers earlier this year, but San Francisco shipped him to Miami after landing free agent center Weston Richburg. He’s signed through the 2020 season, but the Dolphins could opt to release him with no dead money hitting their salary cap.

Dolphins Work Out C Wesley Johnson

The Dolphins worked out former Jets and Lions center Wesley Johnson on Tuesday morning, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Johnson was one of seven offensive linemen to audition, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (on Twitter), and three free agent defensive tackles also took the practice field.

With center Daniel Kilgore out for an extended period, it only makes sense for the Dolphins to explore available centers. Johnson, 27, has appeared in 31 games (23 starts) with the Jets over the past two seasons. The 2014 fifth-round pick out of Vanderbilt joined the Lions earlier this offseason, but he was released by the team at the end of the preseason. Since then, Johnson has worked out with the Vikings and Ravens.

For what it’s worth, the advanced metrics were not high on the Johnson last year. Last year, Johnson graded out as the second-worst qualified center in the league, per Pro Football Focus.

Ravens Work Out Three Offensive Linemen

The Ravens are auditioning a trio of offensive lineman today. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the team is hosting Wesley Johnson, Hroniss Grasu, Jordan Morgan on work outs.

The Ravens’ offensive line allowed four sacks to the Bengals on Thursday night, and the running game was only able to compile 66 yards on 22 caries (good for a three-yard average). The three players working out for Baltimore today either play center or guard, meaning the team is seemingly looking for some depth and reinforcement behind starters Alex LewisMatt Skura, and Marshal Yanda. Jermaine Eluemunor, who made the 2017 All-Rookie team, and rookie sixth-rounder Bradley Bozeman round out the team’s interior-line depth.

Johnson, 27, has the most experience among the auditionees, as he appeared in 31 games (23 starts) with the Jets over the past two seasons. The 2014 fifth-round pick out of Vanderbilt joined the Lions earlier this offseason, but he was released by the team at the end of the preseason. Since then, Johnson had a workout with the Vikings.

Grasu had spent his entire three-year career with the Bears before being released by the team earlier this month. The 27-year-old started 12 of his 14 career games, but injuries have limited him throughout his career (he spent the entire 2016 campaign on the injured reserve).

Morgan is the only offensive guard in the group, and he also previously spent time with the Bears. The 2017 fifth-round pick spent his entire rookie campaign on the injured reserve, and he was released by the organization earlier this month.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/10/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans 

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Extra Points: Practice Squad Salaries, Anthem, Vikings, Browns

The standard practice squad salary is $7,600 a week, but players in high demand around the league often get much more than that, sometimes approaching what their salary would’ve been if they had made the 53-man roster.

Seahawks seventh round quarterback Alex McGough didn’t make the team after Seattle traded for Brett Hundley, but he’ll be making $28K a week according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Although the Broncos wanted De’Angelo Henderson back on their practice squad after cutting him, the Jets offered him $30K a week to steal him away according to Mike Klis of 9News. Lastly, the Vikings paid offered $20K per week to poach tight end Cole Hikutini from the 49ers according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • “Moderate NFL owners are interested in a potential agreement” to waive discipline for players who protest the anthem if the players union will officially endorse standing for the anthem according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post. It’s unclear how close any such agreement might be, but it’s an interesting development.
  • Speaking of the Vikings, the team worked out a slew of players today, with wide receivers Breshad Perriman, Aldrick Robinson and Teo Redding, and offensive linemen Hroniss Grasu, Wesley Johnson, and Bryan Witzmann all coming in for workouts according to Courtney Cronin of ESPN (Twitter link). Minnesota has dealt with a ton of offensive line injuries, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add one of these guys.
  • The Browns finally ended the mystery of who would replace Joe Thomas at left tackle today when they announced it would be undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison protecting Tyrod Taylor’s blindside per Nate Ulrich of the Akron-Beacon Journal (Twitter link). Harrison was always a talented player, but went undrafted because of off-the-field concerns.

Lions Announce Roster Cuts

In addition to trading offensive tackle Corey Robinson to the Panthers, the Lions have also reduced their roster to 53 players.



Placed on injured reserve:

Placed on PUP:

Waived from injured reserve:

With Rudock out of the picture, Matt Cassel will serve as the backup to quarterback Matthew Stafford. Freeny conceivably could have made the roster based on his familiarity with head coach Matt Patricia, but the Lions went in another direction.

Lions Cut C Wesley Johnson

Wesley Johnson is on his way out of Detroit. The veteran center has been cut by the Lions, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter).

The move comes as a bit of a surprise, as the Lions were seemingly eyeing the 27-year-old for a big role. With T.J. Lang out of the lineup, Johnson had been getting reps with the starters. However, the Lions apparently decided to move in a different direction.

The 2014 fifth-round pick joined the Lions earlier this offseason after having spent the past three seasons with the Jets. The veteran ended up working his way up from being a backup to a starter during his tenure in New York, as he started 15 games for the Jets last season.

With Johnson out of the picture, the team will move forward with Graham Glasgow as their lone center.

North Rumors: Bengals, Lions, Packers

Some more clarity regarding Tyler Eifert‘s incentive-laden Bengals contract emerged. The tight end’s deal contains some interesting benchmarks for financial rewards, ones that would seemingly be within reach should Eifert stay healthy. The sixth-year tight end has $3MM in possible performance incentives included in his one-year agreement. Additionally, $62.5K will come Eifert’s way for every game he plays.

As for the performance thresholds, Eifert will collect $250K for catching 50 passes in 2018. The former first-round pick getting to 55 receptions would bring another $250K his way, with the 60- and 65-catch barriers representing $250K triggers as well. Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports these catch incentives max out at $1MM, adding the yardage bonuses do as well. The 500-yard mark represents the first $250K trigger, with the next $250K bonus benchmarks coming at 550, 600 and 650 yards, per Owczarski. As for touchdown receptions, Eifert snaring five would bring him $250K. Each additional touchdown would bring him $250K apiece as well, and this incentive category also maxes out at $1MM.

Eifert scored a tight ends-best 13 TDs in 2015 but only has five since. He only exceeded 500 yards once (in ’15, with 615 yards) and caught a career-high 52 passes that year. He didn’t come close to 50 catches in a season in any other year, so describing these as “likely to be earned” incentives is pushing it.

Here’s the latest from some North-division franchises, continuing with news from the Cincinnati offensive front:

  • Cedric Ogbuehi may be shuttled back to right tackle, a position at which he previously said he wasn’t comfortable. The former first-round pick will compete with both Cordy Glenn and Jake Fisher for the starting tackle jobs, per Marvin Lewis (via Owczarski), but the 16th-year coach said the team expects Glenn to start on the left side. Ogbuehi has started 25 games over the past two years but has dealt with injuries in both, and each season involved him being in a rotation rather than being a full-time player throughout each campaign. Owczarski notes it’s unlikely the Bengals pick up his fifth-year option, which is expected to be for nearly $10MM.
  • Speaking of northern line movement, the Lions plan to try Graham Glasgow at center instead of guard, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reportsWesley Johnson could be set for a backup job. Birkett writes free agent Kenny Wiggins and 2016 fifth-rounder Joe Dahl will compete for at the guard spot opposite T.J. Lang. Wiggins started 16 games for the Chargers at right guard last season. However, Glasgow — who rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 20 guard last season — may stay at guard if the Lions deem Johnson solid enough to start at center. Johnson is only making $880K this season, which would gibe with backup status.
  • Both Ziggy Ansah and wideout T.J. Jones underwent offseason surgeries, per Birkett, who describes Ansah’s as a “minor cleanup” on his knee. Jones had a shoulder operation. Birkett adds Kerry Hyder‘s return goal is training camp. The defensive lineman tore his Achilles’ tendon last season.
  • Ansah remains in Ghana for family reasons, but Justin Rogers of the Detroit News tweets the franchise-tagged defensive end has kept Matt Patricia and the organization in the loop and is expected to return to the team shortly. Birkett writes Ansah could sign his franchise tender as early as the spring rather than having this drag into July. The Lions are not expected to pursue a long-term extension with their top pass rusher at this point.
  • The Packers shook up their offensive coaching staff this offseason, and it sounds like their playbook will reflect that. While refusing to divulge specifics, Mike McCarthy said recently (via Pete Daugherty of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) the team will “go back to Page 1” of the playbook. Joe Philbin, Jim Hostler and Frank Cignetti are now key offensive assistants, so their input may well be reflected in these changes.