Rob Housler

Patriots Release TE Rob Housler

The Patriots have released tight end Rob Housler, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (on Twitter). His release comes with a failed physical designation. Rob Housler (Vertical)

This offseason, Housler was hoping to lock down the No. 3 TE job behind Rob Gronkowski and offseason addition Dwayne Allen. He’s currently dealing with a pulled hamstring, but a reunion between Housler and the Pats is not out of the question once he heals up, Reiss tweets.

Housler was without a team in 2016, though not for a lack of trying. After several NFL workouts did not net him a job, he hooked on with New England in January on a reserves/futures deal.

The former third-round pick was a staple in the Cardinals lineup from 2011 through 2014, averaging nearly 14 games a season. The tight end was especially productive in 2012 and 2013, combining for 84 receptions, 871 yards, and one touchdown in 28 games. In 2015, he bounced between the Bears and Browns and amassed just four catches for 33 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Sign Nine To Reserve/Futures Contracts

Patriots coach Bill Belichick started a “no days off!” chant during today’s victory parade, and that sentiment was confirmed hours later when the team announced that they had signed the majority of their practice squad to reserve/futures contracts (via Patriots.com):

Rob Housler (Vertical)The team also inked tight end Rob Housler to a contract. The team didn’t sign fullback Glenn Gronkowski or wideout DeAndrew White, although that could change in the coming days or weeks.

Housler is probably the most notable name on the list, as the tight end has five NFL seasons under his belt. The former third-round pick was actually a staple in the Cardinals lineup from 2011 through 2014, averaging nearly 14 games a season. The tight end was especially productive in 2012 and 2013, combining for 84 receptions, 871 yards, and one touchdown in 28 games. Since then, the tight end bounced between the Bears and Browns before sitting out the entire 2016 campaign.

Otherwise, Kilgo has the most experience having played in 18 games for the Broncos between 2015 and 2016. Douglas (16 games, six starts), Barker (five games), Hamilton (three games), and Bates (one game) have also seen the field for at least one NFL game. Both Gaffney and Lucien proved to be intriguing prospects for the Patriots during this past preseason.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/19/17

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2017 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

New England Patriots

New York Giants

  • K Aldrick Rosas

San Diego Chargers

  • WR Da’Ron Brown
  • WR Jamaal Jones

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Extra Points: Panthers, Ravens, Saints, Pats

Unlike former teammate Josh Norman, Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short won’t have any problem signing the franchise tender if the team tags him, he told the Associated Press. “I wouldn’t fight it or anything,” said Short, who was unable to reach a long-term deal with the Panthers last offseason. On Norman, whom Carolina let go last April after he wouldn’t sign the tender, Short commented, “Me and Josh are not the same. … He could have stayed here if he wanted to. He could have (signed) the franchise tag.” The durable Short just wrapped up his fourth straight 16-game season, one in which the 27-year-old ranked as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-best interior defender and totaled six sacks. Placing the franchise tag on Short should cost Carolina approximately $13.468MM in 2017.

More from around the NFL:

  • It appears soon-to-be free agent wide receiver Kamar Aiken‘s third season with the Ravens will go down as his last. “Probably, it’s been the most frustrating year I’ve ever had since I’ve been in the league,” Aiken said of 2016 (via Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun). “I would say I was proud of how I handled it.” Aiken was a key piece in the Ravens’ 2015 offense with 127 targets, 75 catches, 944 yards and five touchdowns, but his numbers dropped precipitously this season. In 16 games and six starts (eight fewer than he logged the prior year), Aiken accumulated 50 targets, 29 receptions, 328 yards and only one score. He spoke to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg during the season about an expanded role, but nothing came of it. Mornhinweg will return to the Ravens next season, which seemingly increases the likelihood of an Aiken departure. The 27-year-old revealed that he’s “looking forward to” hitting the open market.
  • Defensive tackle Nick Fairley took a cheap deal with the Saints last July and proved to be a steal in 2016, starting in all 16 of their games and amassing 43 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Fairley is now facing free agency for the third straight offseason, but he’d rather stay with the Saints than test the market. “I think I played my most consistent ball this year. I just feel like it’s the right fit for me,” Fairley told Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. The 28-year-old Fairley, a former Lion and Ram, finished as PFF’s 33rd-ranked interior defender this season.
  • As is the case with Fairley, cornerback Sterling Moore was an effective buy-low defender with the Saints this season. Now, like Fairley, Moore wants to re-sign with the club, he informed Herbie Teope of NOLA.com. “I see myself growing with these guys and just doing something special, so I don’t look at myself necessarily as a free agent even though my contract is coming to an end. I have full intentions on coming back,” said Moore, who made $760K in 2016. The early September signing set career highs in starts (12), tackles (56) and interceptions (two), and PFF rated him 67th among 120 qualified corners.
  • The Patriots worked out a pair of free agents – tight end Rob Housler and cornerback Tharold Simon – on Tuesday, tweets Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. New England didn’t sign either, but the team could keep the veterans in mind as emergency options in the playoffs or circle back to them in the offseason, notes Reiss.

Workout Updates: Seahawks, Patriots, Ravens

The Seahawks, with a below-average rushing attack and Thomas Rawls nursing a shoulder injury, worked out five free agent running backs Tuesday, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Stevan Ridley, Jonas Gray, Dan Herron, LaMichael James and Dominique Williams all auditioned for the club. The most established member of the group is Ridley, who has been available since Atlanta released him Nov. 23. The 27-year-old has just one appearance and three carries to his name this season and has seen his playing time sharply decline since a 1,263-yard campaign with New England in 2012. Gray, also an ex-Pat, has made little impact since averaging 4.6 yards per attempt on 89 carries in 2014, his rookie year. He hasn’t found an employer since the Jaguars waived him Aug. 17.

Along with those rushers, defensive back L.J. McCray visited the Seahawks, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. The Seahawks agreed to acquire McCray from the 49ers back in early September, but the deal fell through after he failed his physical. San Francisco then cut McCray, who hasn’t landed anywhere since.

More workouts from Tuesday:

  • The Patriots auditioned linebacker Arthur Brown, according to Doug Kyed of NESN (Twitter link). Both the Jaguars and Jets have cut Brown this month. He entered the league in 2013 as Baltimore’s second-round pick.
  • Cornerbacks Tharold Simon and Steve Williams tried out for the Ravens, per ESPN’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). Simon made nine appearances earlier this season with the Cardinals, who cut him last week. He’s better known for his 11-appearance, five-start tenure with Seattle from 2014-15. Williams, meanwhile, moved on and off the Rams’ roster multiple times this year. He has totaled six appearances this season (five with San Diego) after playing in 14 games with the Chargers and intercepting two passes last year.
  • The Falcons worked out three tight ends – Orson Charles, Darion Griswold and Joel Ruiz – and defensive end Martin Ifedi, reports Howard Balzer of BalzerFootball.com (Twitter link). Griswold and Ifedi ended up signing with their practice squad.
  • The Dolphins also took a look at the aforementioned Tharold Simon, who joined fellow corner Demetrius McCray and two tight ends – Gabe Hughes and Chris Pantaletweets Caplan.
  • Tight end Rob Housler showcased himself to the Colts, relays Caplan (Twitter link). The five-year veteran has 109 catches, nearly all of which (105) came with Arizona from 2011-14.
  • The Eagles auditioned wide receiver Greg Ellingson, cornerback Tay Glover-Wright and Canadian Football League punter Richie Leone, according to Caplan (Twitter links).
  • Defensive ends Rufus Johnson and Rakim Cox worked out for the Lions (Twitter links via Caplan and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Linebackers Deon Lacey and Glenn Love tried out for the Cardinals, per Balzer (Twitter link).

AFC Notes: Gronk, Broncos, Raiders

Appearing on CSNNE (video link), Albert Breer of TheMMQB said that he wouldn’t be totally shocked if the Patriots decided to eventually trade tight end Rob Gronkowski. When healthy, Gronkowski is a game-changing force who can terrorize any defense. However, he has had trouble staying healthy and he can sometimes be a high-maintenance player. In the past, Breer notes that those types of players have not lasted long in New England.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • It appeared earlier this week that Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian would miss at least one game because of an AC joint sprain in his non-throwing shoulder, but he could start Sunday against Atlanta, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. Siemian resumed throwing on a limited basis during individual and seven-on-seven drills Thursday. That encouraged head coach Gary Kubiak, who called Siemian’s progress a “big step forward,” though he cautioned that the team will have to gauge the 24-year-old’s soreness on Friday. If Siemian is unable to play, rookie Paxton Lynch will make his first career start. The first-rounder from Memphis debuted in relief of Siemian in the Broncos’ 27-7 win in Tampa Bay last Sunday, completing 14-of-24 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown.
  • While the NFL is reviewing a June incident in which Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib shot himself in the leg, potential punishment from the league probably isn’t imminent, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS. Talib will play Sunday, and the league is unlikely to make a decision on his status by the Broncos’ game next Thursday in San Diego. The 30-year-old has already intercepted three passes, already equaling his 2015 total, and will match up against Falcons superstar receiver Julio Jones on Sunday.
  • The Raiders worked out tight end Rob Housler, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. The team has since promoted UDFA Ryan O’Malley to the 53-man roster, so Housler probably won’t be signing with Oakland at this time. The Raiders lost Lee Smith to injury earlier this week and he is likely done for the year after going on IR.

Connor Byrne contributed to this post.

Packers Work Out TE Rob Housler

The Packers are in need of tight end depth as Jared Cook continues to deal with a high ankle sprain, so the club worked out veteran Rob Housler today, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Cook left Green Bay’s Week 3 contest against Lions, and is expected to be sidelined through at least Week 5.Rob Housler (Vertical)

[RELATED: Green Bay Packers Depth Chart]

With Cook out, the Packers are down to Richard Rodgers and Justin Perillo at tight end. While that duo can probably get the job done, Housler would add a bit more to the back end of the roster. Housler, 28, is a former third-round pick who averaged 42 receptions per year for the Cardinals from 2012-13. Thing have gone downhill since then, however, as Housler saw only seven combined targets in 2015 with the Browns and Bears.

In addition to Housler, Green Bay also auditioned rookie tight end J.P. Holtz and linebacker Christian French, reports Demovsky.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears’ Roster At 53

The Bears have officially reduced their roster to 53 players, and in doing so, placed LB Pernell McPhee and WR Marquess Wilson on PUP. As such, each player will be forced to miss at leas the first six games of the season.

Cut:

Waived/Injured:

PUP:

  • LB Pernell McPhee
  • WR Marquess Wilson

Braverman was the club’s seventh-round pick this year after posting a whopping 109 receptions for Western Michigan in 2015.

Moeaki has bounced around a bit since leaving the Chiefs in 2012. The 29-year-old played in 11 games for the Falcons last season, but he only hauled in three catches for 58 yards. Following a 2012 campaign where he caught 33 passes for 453 yards and a score, Moeaki has only compiled 11 catches for 192 yards over the past three seasons.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/14/16

Today’s minor moves, signings, and other deals:

  • The Bears announced (on Twitter) that they have re-signed tight end Rob Housler to a one-year deal. The former Cardinals tight end had some productive years in Arizona in 2012 and 2013, but saw his role reduced in 2014 before leaving the team in free agency. In December 2015, he found his way to Chicago.
  • The Falcons signed Charles Godfrey, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The safety is slated to earn $965K between his $885K base salary and $80K signing bonus.
  • The Packers have signed defensive end Ray Drew, a street free agent from Georgia, a source tells ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky. Drew spent time on the Browns practice squad last year as a rookie. He originally signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent.
  • The Raiders announced the signing of linebacker Daren Bates. Bates played in 44 games for the Rams over the last three seasons after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2013.

FA Rumors: Nelson, Falcons, Giants, Conte

The latest free agent rumors as Wednesday draws closer:

  • The Falcons have expressed interest in Bengals safety Reggie Nelson, according to a source who spoke with Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Nelson hauled in a league-leading eight interceptions last season.
  • The Giants have expressed interest in Vikings free agent guard Mike Harris, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Harris is currently mulling a two-year, $3.5MM offer from Minnesota.
  • Buccaneers safety Chris Conte is drawing interest from multiple teams, per Rand Getlin of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Bucs want him back, but he’ll explore the market before making a commitment.
  • The Texans are holding discussions with cornerback A.J. Bouye about a potential new contract, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. The Texans can retain Bouye with a low tender of $1.671MM, but it sounds like they might work out a one-year deal at a lower rate instead. The 24-year-old entered the league in 2013 as a UDFA out of UCF.
  • Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) believes that free agent tight end Rob Housler will ultimately wind up back with the Bears.