Reggie Ragland

Bills Trade LB Reggie Ragland To Chiefs

The Bills sure love to make trades. On Monday, the Bills shipped linebacker Reggie Ragland to the Chiefs for a 2019 fourth-round draft pick, according to an announcement from Kansas City. "<strong

Ragland, a 2016 second-round pick made by the Doug Whaley regime, was fighting for a roster spot this summer. The 23-year-old missed the entirety of his rookie campaign with an ACL injury and has yet to see live NFL action.

The Bills are not only under new leadership, but they also have an entirely different defensive scheme. Rex Ryan‘s 3-4 is gone and has been replaced with Sean McDermott‘s 4-3. Ragland, apparently, was not a fit for Buffalo’s new-look D, but he could find a home in KC’s 3-4.

The Bills traded up to take the Alabama product in 2016, giving up a second-rounder (49th overall), fourth-rounder (117th overall), and a future fourth-rounder for the 41st-overall pick. Between the 2014 and 2015 seasons, Ragland racked up 195 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and four sacks.

Assuming he cracks the 53-man roster, Ragland will serve as support for Chiefs starting inside linebackers Ramik Wilson and Derrick Johnson.

Ragland is the latest Bills player to be traded, following the path of wide receiver Sammy Watkins, cornerback Ronald Darby, and quarterback Cardale Jones. Between these swaps and their draft day deal with the Chiefs, the Bills now have an impressive stockpile of future selections, including the Chiefs’ 2018 first round pick, the Rams’ 2018 second round pick, the Eagles’ 2018 third round pick, and the Chiefs’ 2019 fourth round pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Bills, Petty

The Patriots waived/injured Matt Lengel earlier today, leading ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss to wonder whether the team will carry three tight ends heading into the regular season. Behind Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen, the team is now rostering third-year player James O’Shaughnessy and undrafted rookies Jacob Hollister and Sam Cotton. Reiss writes that O’Shaughnessy’s special teams prowess makes him the favorite for the third tight end spot, but he adds that Hollister did earn the praise of coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots also have fullback James Develin, who often spends time practicing with the tight ends.

Reiss also notes that the Patriots carried four tight ends heading into last season, but they whittled that number down to two following the A.J. Derby trade and release of Clay Harbor. Ultimately, the writer believes the team will carry a third tight end, but he warns that the organization could carry two as they look to keep an extra player elsewhere.

More notes from around the AFC East…

  • The Patriots are more likely to make an external addition to replace Julian Edelman at wide receiver or Kony Ealy at defensive end than to give an incumbent player more snaps, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Edelman is lost for the season after tearing his ACL over the weekend, while New England waived Ealy on Saturday. At wideout, specifically, Austin Carr and Devin Lucien are more likely to earn a spot on the Patriots’ practice squad than make the club’s 53-man roster, per Reiss.
  • With both Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates in the concussion protocol, the Bills are considering signing another quarterback, head coach Sean McDermott told reporters, including Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News (Twitter link). At present, Buffalo only boasts one healthy quarterback in rookie Nathan Peterman, meaning it could be difficult for the club to even get through a practice session. As such, the Bills are likely looking at camp arms or developmental options, not a Colin Kaepernick-level addition.
  • McDermott also confirmed that 2016 second-round linebacker Reggie Ragland is fighting for a Bills roster spot, as Joe Buscaglia of WKBW tweets. Playing behind Preston Brown and Gerald Hodges, Ragland has been mentioned as a trade candidate, but it’s also possible he’s simply waived. Ragland, 23, missed the entirey of his rookie campaign with an ACL injury, and neither McDermott nor general manager Brandon Beane has any allegiance to the Alabama product given the he was drafted by Buffalo’s previous regime.
  • Bryce Petty survived an injury scare following last night’s preseason game, as the Jets quarterback escaped with a Grade 1 MCL sprain, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, who adds Petty is hopeful he’ll be able to play in New York’s final exhibition contest on Thursday night. The 26-year-old Petty performed admirably against the Giants, completing 15 of 18 pass attempts for 250 yards and three touchdowns (although that action came against Big Blue’s backups). Jets head coach Todd Bowles is expected to announce the club’s starting quarterback early this week, with Petty, Josh McCown, and Christian Hackenberg among those in contention for the job.

Ben Levine contributed to this post.

AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Bengals

Bills head coach Sean McDermott admitted it’s a “fair question” as to whether Buffalo would have traded Sammy Watkins had they known fellow wide receiver Anquan Boldin would soon retire, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (multiple links). Although McDermott referred to the two transactions as “separate entities,” Boldin announced his retirement just four days after the Bills shipped Watkins to the Rams for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second-round selection. Of course, Buffalo also acquired pass-catcher Jordan Matthews on the same day it traded Watkins, and the Bills are “always” examining upgrades at wide receiver, per McDermott.

More from Buffalo and two other AFC cities:

  • The season-ending injury to cornerback Tony Lippett will have consequences for the Dolphins not only for the upcoming season, but for the 2018 campaign, argues Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Lippett, a collegiate wide receiver, had taken a massive leap as a defensive back in 2016, playing nearly three-quarters of Miami’s defensive snaps. While Lippett’s development may have allowed the Dolphins to release Byron Maxwell next spring (clearing his $10MM cap charge), the club may not have that option given the uncertainty surrounding Lippett’s health.
  • Reporters peppered Bills linebacker Reggie Ragland with questions on Tuesday about whether he’s a trade candidate, according to Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News. As one would expect, Ragland suggested that he’s not worried about rumors and noted that he’s “got to keep getting better,” though it’s nonetheless an open question as to whether he’s a fit in the Bills’ defense. The Bills chose Ragland in the second round of the 2016 draft after a costly trade up, but he missed his rookie season with a torn ACL and is now under the thumb of a new administration in Buffalo. The Doug WhaleyRex Ryan duo responsible for the Ragland pick is gone, as is the Bills’ previous 3-4 scheme. Ragland has languished in a third-team role in Buffalo’s 4-3 alignment this preseason under Ryan’s replacement, McDermott, leading Pro Football Rumors’ Dallas Robinson to observe last week that the ex-Alabama star could be in another uniform soon.
  • Bengals cornerback Adam Jonesone-game suspension is now official, ESPN’s Field Yates tweets. The 33-year-old’s ban, which the league handed down in July, came after he was charged with three misdemeanors and a felony stemming from a January arrest. Jones was able to avoid jail time and a lengthy suspension after pleading guilty to a lesser offense. He’ll miss the Bengals’ season opener against AFC North rival Baltimore.

Dallas Robinson and Connor Byrne contributed to this post.

Extra Points: Pats, Cowboys, Panthers, Bills

Newly-acquired defensive end Kony Ealy is in a “legitimate fight” to earn a place on the Patriots roster, opines Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Thought to be a contender for a starting job (especially following Rob Ninkovich‘s retirement), Ealy has been practicing with New England’s reserves, per Reiss, who indicates Ealy simply “hasn’t clicked” since joining the defending Super Bowl champions. The Patriots essentially got Ealy for free from the Panthers, as they moved down only eight picks in the draft to pick up the 25-year-old. He’s signed through the 2017 season, but his $800K salary isn’t guaranteed.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Alfred Morris played ahead of Rod Smith during the Cowboys‘ Hall of Game exhibition last week despite having seen fewer carries than Smith during training camp, leading Todd Archer of ESPN.com to wonder if Dallas was showcasing Morris for a potential trade. Reports in March indicated the Cowboys were likely to shop Morris, who is behind Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden, and Smith on the backfield depth chart, but his salary ($1.2MM) could prove a hindrance. Plus, with Elliott likely to serve a league-mandated suspension, Morris’ presence on the roster could become all the more important. In his first season in Dallas, Morris managed 69 carries for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Second-year defensive tackle Vernon Butler is believed to have escaped with only a knee sprain after leaving the Panthers‘ first preseason game on Wednesday, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Butler will undergo an MRI today, but even a sprain could lead to a multi-week absence, meaning Butler may not be ready for the regular season opener. The 30th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Butler is expected to serve as Carolina’s third interior defender behind Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei. Butler played 21% of the Panthers’ defensive snaps a season ago.
  • Expected to battle for a starting role, Bills linebacker Reggie Ragland is now playing with the club’s third-team defense, and is now behind both Preston Brown and free agent addition Gerald Hodges on Buffalo’s depth chart, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. As such, it’s conceivable the 2016 second-round draft pick could become a trade candidate, Rodak opines. Ragland not only missed the entirety of his rookie campaign with a torn ACL, but was selected by the Bills’ prior regime. Neither general manager Brandon Beane nor head coach Sean McDermott has any link to Ragland, so the 23-year-old could be on the block.
  • The Cardinals worked out punter Brock Miller on Wednesday, reports Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Miller, a former undrafted free agent out of Southern Utah, has been on the NFL workout circuit for much of the past three years. He signed a reserve/futures contract with San Francisco earlier this year, but was waived in May. Arizona sifted through three punters in 2016, and while Matt Wile is currently the incumbent, Richie Leone is also on the roster.

Bills Cut 9, Down To 75

The Bills released nine players on their way to the 75-man limit. Here’s the full rundown.

Released:

Reserve/PUP:

Waived/Injured:

Reserve/NFI:

  • WR Kolby Listenbee

Reserve/Injured:

  • LB Reggie Ragland

Bills’ Reggie Ragland Done For Season

SUNDAY, 8:15pm: Rand Getlin of the NFL Network tweets that Ragland is set to undergo surgery on Tuesday. The linebacker will have his ACL repaired at the The Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze, Florida.

WEDNESDAY, 8:26am: Based on the initial tests, Bills linebacker Reggie Ragland is expected to land on IR after suffering a tear in his ACL, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Rapoport notes that Kiko Alonso had a similar injury and returned, but the odds are not in the rookie’s favor. The Bills have confirmed via press release that Ragland is expected to miss the 2016 season.

Reggie Ragland (vertical)

[RELATED: Bills, Tyrod Taylor Discussing Two-Year Deal]

Ragland will go under the knife later this week to fix his partially torn ACL, though it is believed that the knee has additional damage (link). Initially, there was some hope that Ragland might only have to miss 6-8 weeks (link), but doctors are now fearing the worst.

The Bills traded up in the second round this year to land Ragland, considered to be one of their top targets. Soon after the draft, Bills GM Doug Whaley boasted that Ragland would be one of three rookies in the team’s starting lineup to start the season. Unfortunately, Buffalo won’t see its top two picks on the field for a while.

At least three,” Whaley said in May when asked how many of his rookies will be on the field in Week 1. “[First-round defensive end] Shaq Lawson is going to walk in off the bus starting. [Second-round linebacker] Reggie Ragland, and then [third-round defensive tackle] Adolphus Washington — all three of those guys will start right off the bus. And we’re excited for some guys from the fourth through sixth rounds that will contribute for us.

The Bills have been bracing for bad news on Ragland, as evidenced by the signings of linebackers David Hawthorne and Brandon Spikes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Reggie Ragland Partially Tears ACL

An initial MRI on Bills rookie linebacker Reggie Ragland‘s knee revealed a partially torn ACL, reports ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The team is “confident” that the ACL isn’t Reggie Ragland (Vertical)completely torn. Schefter adds that the team will get a second opinion on Monday, and the team will then determine how much time Ragland will miss.

The former Alabama standout was selected by the Bills in the second round of this year’s draft. The organization actually traded up for the talented linebacker, dealing a second-rounder (49th overall), fourth-rounder (117th overall), and a future fourth-rounder for the 41st-overall pick. Between the 2014 and 2015 season, Ragland compiled 195 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and four sacks. As a result of this production, Roster Resource listed the rookie as one of the Bills’ starting linebackers.

The Bills have seemingly been preparing for Ragland to miss some time. Earlier today, the team announced the signing of linebackers David Hawthorne and Brandon Spikes.

AFC Rumors: Hopkins, Chiefs, Ragland

DeAndre Hopkins displayed his apparent dissatisfaction with the Texans known last week by staging a brief holdout, but the team is not discussing a new contract with the talented wideout. Rick Smith said, via James Palmer of NFL.com (Twitter link), no negotiations between Houston and Hopkins are transpiring right now.

The 24-year-old wideout, who is coming off back-to-back 1,200-plus-yard seasons, said on an NFL Network interview (via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, on Twitter) he’s not stewing over his contract situation. “It’s not something I sit here and think about. … What goes on off the field works itself out,” Hopkins said during the interview.

Owner Bob McNair said previously that the fourth-year receiver’s contract was going to come up in due time. Hopkins is set to make $1.5MM this season. Houston exercised Hopkins’ fifth-year option, putting him on their 2017 books for $7.915MM. As of now, that figure would rank 20th among wideouts in terms of ’17 earnings.

Regarding Hopkins’ situation, which isn’t unique in today’s NFL, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes the 2011 CBA overcorrected the previous problem of underperforming rookies anchoring payrolls. In allowing teams to wait a minimum of three seasons before giving deserving rookies raises, Florio notes the league not instituting a device that would ensure non-busts received their due earnings penalizes the players who do reward teams by outperforming their contracts.

Here’s more from the AFC on preseason eve.

  • Clark Hunt told media (including Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star) Eric Fisher‘s contract negotiations spanned barely two weeks in late July leading up to training camp. The Chiefs signed the scrutinized left tackle to a four-year, $48MM extension.
  • Hunt envisions the Chiefs revisiting Eric Berry‘s contract after the season. The franchise’s chairman echoed the reports that said the Chiefs and the All-Pro safety were too far apart on terms by July 15. “As soon as we have an opportunity next year, we’ll sit down with his representatives and see if we can work out a scenario where he could finish his career here. … We couldn’t close the gap this year, but next year’s a different situation,” Hunt said. “I can’t say that there will be anything fundamentally that happens that would make it possible, but it’s certainly something that we’ll talk about.” Berry will make $10.86MM this year as part of the franchise tag, one the 27-year-old talent has not signed and is not expected to for a while.
  • As he said in an interview with PFR’s Zach Links, ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher does not foresee Berry being in the Chiefs’ long-term plans. The ESPN.com writer noted that simply a year passing and the sides being back at the negotiating table doesn’t mean either will compromise. Berry stands to be one of the most pursued free agents after this season, should the seventh-year safety reach the open market for the first time. The Chiefs are projected to possess just $6.7MM in cap space in ’17, and Dontari Poe will also be a free agent.
  • The Bills will work out free agent linebackers on Sunday after Rex Ryan backtracked on his statement saying Reggie Ragland likely avoided ligament damage after suffering a knee injury Friday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports. Ryan said the team is “definitely concerned” about Ragland’s knee, via Joe Buscaglia of WKBW (on Twitter). Buffalo’s second-round pick sustained the injury in a non-contact situation. The team is already expected to be without first-round pick Shaq Lawson for multiple games.
  • The Steelers are involved in multiple contract negotiations, with David DeCastro joining Antonio Brown as players with whom management is discussing deals.

Impact Rookies: Buffalo Bills

The old adage that defense wins championships may or may not be true, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a title-winning team that didn’t build heavily through the draft. Rookie classes, naturally, are evaluated on the perceived upside of the NFL newcomers, but which rookies are ready to contribute right out of the gate? And, how do they fit in with their new team schematically?

To help us forecast the immediate future of these NFL neophytes, we enlisted the help of draft guru Dave-Te Thomas who has served as a scouting personnel consultant to NFL teams for multiple decades.

Today, we continue PFR’s Impact Rookie series with his insight on the Buffalo Bills’ draft class:

There is a strange silence coming out of Bills camp – head coach Rex Ryan has yet to boast about his team’s Super Bowl prospects. The coach who thrives on positive thinking is spending the wee hours of the day huddled with his twin brother, Rob, hoping they can come up for a formula to improve their suspect run defense. Until they get that front wall operating on all cylinders, they can not even consider a postseason run with a unit that ranked 17th in the league in stopping the run (108.1 ypg), but allowed an average of 4.4 yards per carry. Only seven other teams allowed opponents a higher mark. Rex Ryan

Additionally, their Rolls Royce-priced defensive line could not manage to get to the quarterback, as the only team to register fewer sacks that the Bills (21) were the Falcons (19). At least the Ryans shed the locker room of a high priced veteran who almost wrecked their salary cap in Mario Williams. The NFL’s version of the NBA’s Dwight Howard (I think I’m much better than anybody, so why go and prove it?) was dispatched to Miami, cutting a budget albatross that went to the bank to the tune of $19.4MM last year. He rewarded them with nineteen tackles and five sacks in fifteen starting assignments.

Williams was not the only front wall defender that should have felt somewhat feel embarrassed cashing a paycheck last year. Nose tackle Marcell Dareus recorded 51 tackles and got to the quarterback twice, earning an average of $16.1MM/year with $60MM guaranteed on a deal that runs through 2022. His projected running mate inside, Kyle Williams, garnered a $7.4MM dollar check for 14 tackles and one sack. The aging and injured veteran has a $4.5MM guarantee in the bank, but looms as a roster casualty in camp, especially with rookie Adolphus Washington showing the coaches more than enough to be listed with the first team on the depth chart entering training camp.

While Jerry Hughes tied Mario Williams for the team lead with five sacks in addition to making 52 tackles, it came with a price tag average of nine million with $22MM guaranteed through the 2020 season. Behind him, linebacker Manny Lawson secured three million from the Bills and found just one quarterback in the backfield last year. All told, the team saw eight defensive tackles take home ~16.33% of their cap in 2015. Only Jacksonville ($24,389,776; 16.34% of cap) doled out more money to their interior defenders in the NFL last year.

Their paltry pass rush only cost the team 6.97% of their cap to pay off their defensive ends (21st in the NFL) and their outside linebackers received just 3.18% of the team’s cap funds (31st in the league). You get what you pay for, my grandmother always told me. To rectify that problem, it looks like the Bills went for a long-term solution, but at a possible cost at receiving immediate dividends from their top draft choice in 2016.

Continue reading about the Bills’ rookie class..

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Minor NFL Transactions: 5/24/16

We’ll keep track of today’s draft signings and other minor moves here:

  • The Dolphins agreed to terms with two members of their draft class today, signing third-round receiver Leonte Carroo and seventh-round tight end Thomas Duarte, as Wilson reports (Twitter link). Miami now only has third-round running back Kenyan Drake left to sign, as PFR’s Zach Links detailed when looking at unsigned 2016 draftees earlier today.
  • The Lions waived offensive lineman Darius Johnson on Tuesday, as Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press adds (via Twitter) that Johnson was waived with an injury waiver designation. Johnson, a Middle Tennessee State product, signed with Detroit following the team’s rookie minicamp.
  • The Chargers placed safety Matt Daniels on the injured reserve list with a leg injury, Eric Williams of ESPN.com tweets. Daniels appeared in only one game for San Diego last season. Former Michigan linebacker James Ross has been signed to fill Daniel’s void, a source tells Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
  • After signing as an undrafted free agent out of UTSA, edge rusher Jason Neill was waived today by the Cowboys, according to Wilson (Twitter link). To replace Neil, Dallas signed fellow defensive end Zach Wood, tweets Wilson.
  • The Panthers placed tight end Jake McGee on waivers with an injury designation last week, and after reverting to injured reserve, McGee has now been cut from IR with an injury settlement, per Wilson (Twitter link).

Earlier updates:

  • The Bills have signed second-round linebacker Reggie Ragland, according to his agents at Vanguard Sports (on Twitter). Ragland was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year after recording 97 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, and six pass breakups. GM Doug Whaley has said that he expects to see Ragland in the starting lineup to begin the 2016 season.
  • The Raiders announced that they have signed free agent wide receivers Robert Herron and Nathan Palmer. To make room, the Raiders have waived/injured wide receiver Andre Debose and waived quarterback Garrett Gilbert. Palmer auditioned for New Orleans last week alongside a handful of notable names, including Hakeem Nicks. Herron was originally selected by the Bucs in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in eight games his rookie season, posting six receptions for 58 yards (9.7 avg.) and one touchdown.
  • The Browns signed undrafted free agent wide receiver David Richards, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. The Arizona product first hooked on with Atlanta after the draft but was waived soon after.
  • The Jets waived tight end Jerome Cunningham and signed running back Romar Morris, as Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets.
  • The Buccaneers have placed safety Johnny Lowdermilk on the reserved-retired list, creating a second opening on the 90-man roster, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.