A Week 10 depth move will result in the Bills cutting 10-year veteran linebacker Ramon Humber.
The Bills announced they will part ways with Humber, a third-year Buffalo contributor, and promoted wide receiver Robert Foster from their practice squad. Humber will venture to the waiver wire.
Tremaine Edmunds cleared concussion protocol and will be back in action in Week 10, lessening the need for help at linebacker. However, Humber played in all nine Buffalo games this season and started nine games for the 2017 Bills. He registered just nine tackles this season but made a career-high 83 last year.
A part-time starter for the Colts’ 2009 AFC championship team and a member of six Saints squads, Humber caught on with the Bills in August 2016 and re-signed to stay in western New York in 2017 and ’18. The 31-year-old ‘backer was making just more than $1MM this season.
A rookie out of Alabama, Foster’s seen action in six Bills games this season. He has two receptions for 30 yards.
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Matthews, whom Buffalo acquired (along with a third-round pick) in an August trade in exchange for cornerback Ronald Darby, had been serving as the Bills’ de facto No. 1 wideout, although he is actually third in receptions behind running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Charles Clay. On 13 targets, the 25-year-old Matthews has managed 10 catches for 162 yards and one touchdown for the surprisingly 3-1 Bills. Playing in his contract season, Matthews is scheduled to become a free agent next spring.
Given that the Bills were already fielding one of the NFL’s worst receiving corps before the Matthews injury, the club will likely lean on the run game even more heavily than it had in Weeks 1-4. Buffalo has thrown the ball at a lower rate than any other team in the league thus far (just 45.31% of plays), and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that percentage dip even further.
Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, and Kaelin Clay will likely see more targets with Matthews sidelined, while the Bills could also promote either Malachi Dupre or Brandon Reilly from their practice squad. A free agent addition probably doesn’t make sense given that Matthews will return later this year, but Anquan Boldin is still available after retiring from the Bills just before the season began. The veteran pass-catcher has ruled out a late-season return, however.
Matthews wasn’t the only Buffalo player to go down on Sunday, as linebacker Ramon Humber suffered a broken thumb and will miss time, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Humber, who has never been a full-time starter during his nine-plus-year NFL career, had played on nearly 95% of the Bills’ defensive snaps to this point and graded as the league’s No. 33 linebacker, per Pro Football Focus. Matt Milano is likely to step into the starting lineup, while Deon Lacey and Tanner Vallejo could also see increased usage.
The Bills have re-signed linebacker Ramon Humber, the club announced today. Although terms of the deal weren’t announced, Humber likely agreed to a one-year deal at or near the veteran’s minimum.
Humber, 29, has always been a key special teams cog and continued in that role in 2016, playing on nearly three-quarters of Buffalo’s special teams snaps. In previous years, however, Humber had logged at least some time on defense, as he’d seen action on more than 700 total defensive snaps with the Saints from 2014-15. Last season, though, Humber only saw the field for 60 defensive plays despite the Bills’ suffering numerous injuries at linebacker.
An undrafted free agent out of North Dakota in 2009, Humber has carved out a nice career as he enters his ninth NFL season. In addition to Buffalo and New Orleans, Humber has also been employed by Indianapolis (with whom he started his pro tenure) and New England, who signed Hubmer last spring but released him during final cutdowns. All told, Humber has appeared in 108 career games and racked up 138 tackles.
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Here are today’s minor moves.
- Wide receiver Mario Alford cleared waivers and will revert to the Bengals‘ IR, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com tweets.
- Recently cut tight end Ryan Malleck will revert to the Giants‘ IR after clearing waivers, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports (on Twitter).
- Continuing a busy day for their secondary, the Saints waived/injured rookie DB Jimmy Pruitt, Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Saints also moved cornerback Damian Swann to IR, Nick Underhill of The Advocate reports. A second-year cornerback who played in seven games with New Orleans last season and started two, Swann went down with an undisclosed injury this month. Paul Kruger will take his roster spot after signing today. This strips another corner from the Saints’ depth chart due to injury; the team recently cut Keenan Lewis, who remains unsigned.
- The Bills announced that they have signed linebacker Ramon Humber. To make room, the team relased kickoff specialist Jordan Gay. Humber, 29, was cut loose by New England on Tuesday. Humber was a favorite of Bills assistant head coach Rob Ryan when he served as the defensive coordinator in New Orleans.
- The Bills also made a successful claim for third-year center Patrick Lewis on waivers, per Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (on Twitter). To make room, the team waived offensive lineman Jamison Lalk, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW tweets. Seattle waived Lewis on Tuesday in trimming its roster down to 75 players. This comes two days after the Seahawks attempted to trade Lewis but evidently found no one willing to part with the kind of capital they preferred. The Bills, who occupied the 19th position in the waiver order, landed Lewis without parting with any draft picks and potentially added an interior-line backup for Eric Wood. Lewis started 13 games for the Seahawks over the past two seasons but saw Justin Britt‘s move to center push him out of a job. The Bills are the second team to claim the 2014 UDFA on waivers, doing so after the Seahawks added him by this measure when the Browns waived him.
- The Falcons re-signed fullback Will Ratelle and placed wide receiver Devin Fuller on IR, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Fuller, a seventh-round pick, will undergo surgery after suffering a shoulder injury against the Dolphins on Thursday.
- The Jaguars announce they have waived/injured wide receiver Tony Washington, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com tweets.
- The 49ers waived undrafted rookie DB Jered Bell from injured reserve with an injury settlement, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com tweets.
Zach Links contributed to this report
The Patriots have made several transactions to get their roster under the 75-man limit. In addition to placing Dion Lewis and Sebastian Vollmer on PUP (moves that were previously reported), New England has made the following moves.
Humber, 29, agreed to a one-year deal with the Pats earlier this year. He served as a key special teams cog for the Saints after they signed him during the 2010 season. Since signing with the Colts as an undrafted free agent out of North Dakota State in 2009, the 28-year-old has appeared in 92 regular-season games and made 18 starts at linebacker.
The Patriots have formally placed Dion Lewis on the PUP list. The running back is in need of a second knee surgery and reportedly will be out for at least another eight or 9 weeks. The PUP list designation sidelines him for the first six weeks of the season.
The Patriots will also place tackle Sebastian Vollmer on the PUP list, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Theoretically, New England can bring him back, but it’s more likely that he will not play this year due to his nagging hip problems.
Lewis’ injury does not involve the ACL or any other ligaments, which is good news for his recovery. Lewis was a key cog of New England’s offense before his ACL tear, rushing 49 times for 234 yards and catching 36 passes for 388 yards. He also scored four total touchdowns, two through the air and two on the ground.
Vollmer, when healthy, has been a mainstay at tackle for New England since 2009. However, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked Vollmer as the 42nd-best tackle out of 77 qualified players last season, and he was thought to be on the roster bubble earlier this year. His contract is set to expire at the end of the 2016 campaign and earlier this offseason Patriots passed on discussing an extension with him as a result of his injury issues.
In related news, the Patriots cut linebacker Ramon Humber, tight end Steven Scheu, and offensive tackle Keavon Milton.
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Here are some of the latest details on recently agreed-upon or signed contracts from around the NFL. All Twitter links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated…
- Damon Harrison, DT (Giants): Five years, $46.25MM. $24MM guaranteed. $8MM signing bonus (Twitter link).
- Bobby Massie, T (Bears): Three years, $18MM. $6.5MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $2MM roster bonus due on March 14 (Twitter links).
- Thad Lewis, QB (49ers): One year, $760K. Minimum salary benefit. $25K playing-time incentive. $428K split salary (Twitter link).
- Travis Benjamin, WR (Chargers): Four years, $24MM. $13MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. $2.75MM salary for 2016 and $4.25MM salary for 2017 fully guaranteed (Twitter link).
- Antonio Gates, TE (Chargers): Two years, $11MM. $6MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link).
- Ramon Humber, LB (Patriots): One year, $885K. Minimum salary benefit. $25K signing bonus. $30K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald).
Humber, whom the Saints waived last month, served as a key special teams cog for the club after it signed him during the 2010 season. Since signing with the Colts as an undrafted free agent out of North Dakota State in 2009, the 28-year-old has appeared in 92 regular-season games and made 18 starts at linebacker.