Rick Lovato

Minor NFL Transactions: 2/22/19

Today’s minor moves will be posted here:

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles locked up a pair of specialists today on one-year deals. Both Elliott and Lovato were exclusive-rights free agents, meaning they weren’t going anywhere and their re-signing was somewhat of a formality, as long as the Eagles wanted them back. Both players will now be restricted free agents next year.

Eagles Trade LS Jon Dorenbos To Saints

Monday’s been oddly populated by long-snapping news, and the Eagles and Saints jumped into the fray toward the end of the day.

Philadelphia traded long snapper Jon Dorenbos to New Orleans in exchange for a 2019 seventh-round pick, the Eagles announced Monday night.

Dorenbos spent 11 seasons with the Eagles and has been snapping since 2003. The 37-year-old figures to take over the Saints’ specialty snapping duties. The longest-tenured Eagle, Dorenbos made two Pro Bowls — in 2009 and 2014 — and made enough of an impact for owner Jeffrey Lurie to release as statement (via Geoff Mosher of FanRag Sports, on Twitter) thanking him for his contributions over the past decade.

The 15th-year snapper signed a three-year extension in 2016, and $500K of his $1MM base salary is fully guaranteed, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com points out (on Twitter). Caplan adds (via Twitter) $500K of Dorenbos’ 2018 salary ($1.015MM) becomes fully guaranteed on March 18.

Rick Lovato will take over the Philly gig. The 24-year-old Lovato snapped in seven games with the Packers, Redskins and Eagles between 2015-16. The younger specialist was likely going to supplant Dorenbos, Jeff McLane of Philly.com tweets.

The Saints re-signed their longtime snapper, Justin Drescher, earlier this month. Dorenbos figures to be the favorite to win this job, though. Drescher, 29, has snapped with the Saints for seven straight seasons. Sean Payton said just before Drescher’s return he was unhappy with the team’s inconsistent long snapping but noted last week he was pleased with Drescher’s work during the preseason.

Drescher was outfitted with a walking boot on Monday, Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com reveals (on Twitter). That would help explain the decision.

This is the second trade involving a long snapper today. The Jets and Colts made a lower-profile swap earlier. The Ravens and Bears also signed long snappers today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Make Several Pre-Week 15 Moves

The Eagles’ running back corps continues to take hits and will be without one of its members for the rest of the season. Among a host of Monday moves, Philadelphia placed rookie Wendell Smallwood on IR.

Tackle Matt Tobin will also venture to the team’s IR list, where he’ll join long snapper Jon Dorenbos, whom the Eagles placed on the season-ending list after he was declared out for the season earlier today.

To begin filling this trio’s roster spots, the team signed former Jaguars cornerback Dwayne Gratz and long snapper Rick Lovato. Gratz’s deal is for two years, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Both the Jaguars and Rams cut Gratz this season. The former third-round pick played in three games for both teams this season, recording five tackles. He started in 17 games for the Jags in 2014 and ’15 but did not show enough to stick around through what began as his contract year.

A knee injury will close Smallwood’s initial NFL campaign. The fifth-round pick rushed 77 times for 312 yards, receiving multiple carries in 11 of the Eagles’ 13 games. This news comes after it became known Darren Sproles is in the concussion protocol, leaving the Eagles with Ryan Mathews, who returned last week from his latest injury to rush for 60 yards, and Kenjon Barner as healthy backfield options.

Tobin, a fourth-year ex-UDFA, started one game this season after breaking with the first unit in 20 games in ’14 and ’15. He played 31 snaps against Washington on Sunday but will miss the season’s remainder with a knee injury.

Lovato has been something of a snapper-on-call during his two-year career, with the Old Dominion product catching on with the Packers to close last season and joining the Redskins for a two-game stint in November. He’ll likely snap for the Eagles in their final three games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/6/2016

The Broncos worked out a dozen players today, including quarterbacks Sean Renfree and T.J. Yates, running backs Bernard Pierce and Zac Brooks, and wide receivers Keshawn Martin and Corey Washington, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Yates, 29, has only started seven games during his regular season career, but has somewhat miraculously managed two playoff starts, both for Houston. Each of the tryouts conducted by Denver today were for futures contract consideration, tweets Mike Klis of 9NEWS.

Here’s more from the workout front:

  • Searching for emergency interior line options, the Patriots tried out OL James Stone and Chris Watt today, reports Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter links), who adds that New England also took a look at wide receiver Dez Stewart. As Reiss wrote earlier today, the Pats could be forced to make a move at WR following an injury to Danny Amendola, and Stewart could potentially fill that void.
  • The Chiefs, dealing with injuries to Dontari Poe and Jaye Howard (placed on IR), auditioned veteran defensive lineman Kenrick Ellis and Montori Hughes, per Caplan (Twitter link). Kansas City also worked out inside linebackers James Burgess and Darnell Sankey on Saturday, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star tweets.
  • The Packers tried out tight end Kennard Backman, quarterback Mike Bercovici, wide receiver Mitch Mathews, and running back Daryl Virgies, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Backman is familiar with Green Bay, as the Packers chose him in the sixth round of the 2015 draft.
  • Defensive back Dezmen Southward, defensive end Josh Boyd, and linebacker Ron Thompson all worked out for the Raiders today, per Caplan (Twitter link). Southward was a third-round pick by the Falcons in 2014.
  • The Buccaneers are working out 6’4″, 220-pound wide receiver Joe Hills, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. He was the 2016 Arena League offensive Player of the Year for the Jacksonville Sharks.
  • Defensive lineman Frank Beltre and defensive back Tony Burnett were among the players that tried out for the Vikings today, according to Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link).
  • The Jets worked out long snappers Zac Triner, Rick Lovato, Daniel Dillon, and Kameron Canaday, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. New York’s current long snapper is veteran Tanner Purdum.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/29/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Buccaneers have waived wide receiver Louis Murphy from the Reserve/PUP list, the club announced today. Murphy is recovering from an ACL tear suffered in October 2015, and wasn’t going to get on the field for Tampa Bay after being kept on PUP. However, the fact that he’s been released likely indicates that the two sides have agreed to some sort of settlement, allowing Murphy to hit the open market. He had been scheduled to earn a $2MM base salary in 2017.
  • The Redskins announced that they have promoted defensive tackle A.J. Francis from the practice squad. To create a roster spot, long snapper Rick Lovato was waived, likely signalling that fellow LS Nick Sundberg is once again healthy.

Redskins Sign Long Snapper Rick Lovato

With their regular long snapper ailing, the Redskins signed former Packers specialist Rick Lovato, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

This points to Nick Sundberg not being available for Washington’s Sunday-night game against Green Bay, which deployed Lovato last season. The second-year long snapper will venture to Washington, D.C., after being one of the Packers’ final cuts out of training camp.

This move prevents what would have been an interesting, if slightly unrealistic, scenario. Jay Gruden insisted Colt McCoy resided as his team’s emergency long snapper, but his status as Kirk Cousins‘ top backup intervened to induce an outside hire.

Washington’s long snapper since 2010, Sundberg injured a muscle in his back while lifting weights. He’s been active for each of the Redskins’ nine games this season and snapped in all 16 of the franchise’s regular-season contests in 2014 and ’15. Originally a Bears UDFA in 2015, Lovato caught on with the Packers last season and snapped in their final two regular-season games and in both of the subsequent playoff contests — including Green Bay’s wild-card win in Washington.

 

 

Packers Bring Roster Down To 53

The Packers have announced the cuts that will bring their roster down to 53. The club has made the following moves:

Cut:

Placed On IR:

  • Kyle Steuck
  • DT Tyler Kuder

Reserve/Suspended:

NFC Rumors: Packers, Falcons, Saints

With playoff seeds potentially set to be finalized across the NFC this weekend, let’s look at some news coming out of some of the conference’s locales.

  • The Packers‘ decision to sign rookie long snapper Rick Lovato instead of a veteran special teams presence surprised some coaches, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes. “I want a veteran,” an NFC special teams coach told McGinn. “Try a rookie in camp, not on a playoff run.” Another coach called Lovato’s game tape “terrible” but saw marketed improvement at his pro day this past spring, and the rookie agreed with that assessment. Two AFC special teams coaches didn’t rank Lovato among their top four draft-eligible snappers, McGinn writes.
  • Mason Crosby could command a deal that pays him $4MM per year and guarantees him $8MM this offseason, Tom Silverstein of the Journal-Sentinel writes. The Packers’ patience with Crosby after a 2012 season where he missed 12 field goals has paid off, with the ninth-year kicker missing just 14 over the past three seasons. “Obviously, I want to be a Packer. I love playing here. This is all I know. It’s home to me,” Crosby told media, including Silverstein. “It’s a special place. I would love nothing more than to just continue my career here.”Stephen Gostkowski is the only kicker who makes more than $4MM per year. Justin Tucker and Adam Vinatieri are a couple of the notable kickers that comprise the upcoming free agent class.
  • Marques Colston, Jahri Evans and Zach Strief could be part of the next batch of Saints veterans cut for salary cap relief, Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com writes. The Saints are again in cap turmoil, residing $4MM+ over the 2016 cap presently. Set to play on an $8.2MM cap number, and $7.1MM worth of dead money, Evans has the best chance of sticking around, Duncan notes, due to a potential release of the perennially durable guard netting the team barely $1MM in cap savings. Cutting Colston, who’s been usurped by Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead, would save $3.2MM. A Strief release, however, would save the Saints just $1.3MM.
  • Embattled Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff‘s penchant for allowing his coaches significant input in key personnel decisions has led to some slip-ups in recent years, Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Mike Smith preferred the Falcons select Ra’Shede Hageman in the second round last year, and then-defensive coordinator Mike Nolan convinced the GM to build a 3-4 defensive front around Paul Soliai and first-round bust Tyson Jackson a year earlier, Schultz writes.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/22/15

Tuesdays are typically busy days for roster changes during the NFL regular season, and even with the holidays around the corner, this week is no different. Here are the latest minor transactions from around the league:

  • The Packers announced that they’ve placed long snapper Brett Goode on injured reserve, signing fellow snapper Rick Lovato to take his place. Per Wes Hodkiewicz of PackersNews.com (Twitter link), Goode tore his ACL during Sunday’s game against the Raiders.
  • The Bears announced (via Twitter) that they’ve promoted defensive tackle D’Anthony Smith from the practice squad, waiving running back Antone Smith to create a roster spot. D’Anthony has spent time with the Jaguars, Lions, and Seahawks, while Antone had seen just one carry for Chicago this year.
  • With Marcus Mariota ailing, the Titans have signed quarterback Alex Tanney off the Colts’ practice squad, reports Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com (Twitter link). Tanney, known for his “trick-shot” Youtube videos, will back up Zach Mettenberger on Sunday. Tennessee placed defensive tackle Mike Martin on injured reserve to create a roster spot.

Earlier updates:

  • The 49ers have signed running back DuJuan Harris from off the Ravens‘ practice squad, cutting running back Travaris Cadet to make room, tweets Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com noted this afternoon (via Twitter) that the knee injury sustained by Shaun Draughn didn’t appear to be serious, but the club wanted to add some insurance just in case. San Francisco may get some added insurance in the form of Mike Davis, who is currently on the IR-DTR list, and will begin practicing this week, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link).
  • After somehow playing through a fractured fibula for three quarters on Sunday, safety David Bruton will head to injured reserve, officially ending his season, the Broncos confirmed today in a press release. Safety Shaun Prater will take the open spot on the roster, with Bruton expected to require four to six weeks to recover from his injury.
  • As expected, the Browns formally placed starting right guard John Greco on injured reserve today, per a team release. Cleveland has re-signed wide receiver Darius Jennings to the roster, after waiving him last week.
  • The Buccaneers have filled the opening on their 53-man roster by promoting wide receiver Evan Spencer from their practice squad, the team announced today in a press release. Spencer was selected in the sixth round of this year’s draft by Washington.
  • The Bills are elevating wide receiver Walter Powell to their active roster from the practice squad, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Powell figures to replace Robert Woods, who is expected to land on IR.
  • Giants fullback Nikita Whitlock is headed to the injured reserve list, reports Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. Whitlock suffered a knee injury that isn’t expected to be a long-term issue, but it will keep him sidelined for the club’s last couple games of the season.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Breaux, Seahawks, Packers

Rookie 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula is at the helm of a 4-9 team and certainly not a lock to return for a second season, but two of the club’s respected veterans spoke out Friday in support of the 47-year-old, according to Eric Branch of The San Francisco Chronicle.

“Yeah, I love Tomsula,” linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. “I’ve been with him for a long time. He knows me. I know him. It’s always been a good relationship.”

Tomsula has been with the 49ers since taking over as their defensive line coach in 2007, so he and Bowman – drafted in 2010 – are well-acquainted.

Receiver Torrey Smith, on the other hand, signed with the 49ers last offseason and obviously hasn’t spent nearly the amount of time with Tomsula that Bowman has. That didn’t stop Smith from endorsing Tomsula.

“He’s been one of my favorite coaches I’ve ever had,” Smith said. “I think he’s a great man. It sucks that we haven’t had the results that we need, but I think he’s a great guy. So I want the best for him.”

More on the Niners and a few of their NFC counterparts:

  • The Lions missed a golden opportunity last offseason to sign standout cornerback Delvin Breaux, who was unable to pass a team physical, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Breaux, formerly of the CFL, went on to sign with the Saints and has been a bright spot on a porous defense. The 26-year-old has 38 tackles and two interceptions in 13 games, and currently ranks as Pro Football Focus’ 13th-best corner (subscription required).
  • Running back Christine Michael‘s recently signed deal with the Seahawks expires at the end of the season, but he’ll be still be under team control as a restricted free agent, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). With fellow RBs Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson potentially out of Seahawks uniforms in 2016, Michael could stick around as Thomas Rawls‘ backup. He’ll have a chance to impress the organization in the coming weeks with both Lynch and Rawls injured.
  • 49ers rookie Jarryd Hayne is encouraged by his progress and plans to return to the NFL next season, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee writes. “To come this far in seven months, give me 12, 14 (and) it’s going to be completely different. And I think anyone who’s seen my growth will tell you how much I’ve changed and developed,” the 27-year-old said. The native of Australia and former professional rugby player signed with the Niners as a running back/return specialist last offseason. He appeared in six games for the team this year before it cut him and brought him back as a member of its practice squad last month.
  • The Packers spent Friday looking at free agent special teamers, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reports. The Pack worked out two punters – Will Johnson and Kasey Redfern – a pair of long snappers in Rick Lovato and Sam Rodgers, and kicker Andy Wilder.