Ryan Broyles

XFL Notes: Robinson, Cook, Aguayo, Cobb, Gray, Broyles, Boyer, Locke, Novak, Ollie

The relaunched XFL is gearing up for its first season, and they’re starting to announce more and more of their initial player pool. There are a lot of ex-NFL guys in the mix, and we’ll get to that in just a bit, but at least one notable college player is looking to jump right in. Former West Virginia safety Kenny Robinson is entering the XFL draft pool, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. Robinson was dismissed from West Virginia for academic fraud earlier this year. Florio writes that he was “considered a likely draft choice,” but hadn’t been in school long enough to be eligible for the NFL, which requires you to be three years removed from high school graduation.

That left Robinson with the options of looking for a new school to play at, or entering an alternative pro league. “Now they can see how I hold up mentally and physically,” Robinson told Andy Staples of The Athletic. “They’ll see me playing against guys who have actually been in the NFL and done it.” Robinson will be an early test case for what the XFL is hoping more players opt to do. Ever since they announced they were coming back, the XFL has attempted to position itself as a league for talented high school and college players to consider as an alternative to the NCAA. As Florio notes, Robinson will be eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft. In 12 games for the Mountaineers last year he had 77 tackles and four interceptions, earning a first-team All-Big 12 nod.

And now, onto the NFL alums:

  • In the first group of players that the league announced on Twitter, a few names jumped out. Former Michigan State and Raiders quarterback Connor Cook is on the list. Cook was drafted by Oakland in the fourth-round back in 2016, and even ended up starting a playoff game for them that year after injuries to Derek Carr and Matt McGloin. He spent 2017 as a third-stringer and was released at final cuts the following year. He was briefly with the Lions earlier this offseason, but was waived back in June.
  • Everybody’s favorite kicker Roberto Aguayo was also on the list, as were running backs David Cobb and Jonas Gray. Aguayo, of course, was infamously drafted by the Buccaneers in the second-round back in 2016. He lasted only one year as the Bucs’ kicker despite his draft status, and has become a punchline ever since. Cobb had a brief run as the Titans’ lead back in 2015, but never did anything after that. He most recently played in the AAF with the San Antonio Commanders. Gray was with the Patriots in 2014, and won Super Bowl XLIX with the team. Gray randomly had an absurd week in November of that year, rushing for 201 yards and four touchdowns. He quickly fell out of favor, and was released by New England the following year. He hasn’t even been in a training camp since 2016.
  • Earlier Tuesday, the XFL posted to Twitter their second batch of players. Among the notable names was receiver Ryan Broyles, a second-round pick of the Lions back in 2012. Broyles, a legendary Oklahoma player, showed some promise as a rookie, but injuries derailed his career after that. He last appeared in a regular season game in 2014. There were also a few interesting specialists on the list in longsnapper Nate Boyer, punter Jeff Locke, and kicker Nick Novak. Boyer spent six years in the military and served in Afghanistan and Iraq before becoming a walk-on at Texas. He spent the 2015 offseason with the Seahawks, but was ultimately released. Notably, he is the player who advised Colin Kaepernick to kneel rather than sit during the national anthem. Locke spent four seasons as the Vikings’ punter. Novak is a veteran NFL kicker who spent over a decade in the league from 2005-20017. Ronald Ollie, one of the stars of the popular Netflix show ‘Last Chance U’, is also on the list.


Lions Release Ryan Broyles, 8 Others

The Lions have cut ten players loose, including wide receiver Ryan Broyles, as Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com writes. The full list is below:

  • Deon Butler, TE
  • Ryan Broyles, WR
  • Garret Gilbert, QB
  • Vernon Johnson, WR
  • Desmond Martin, RB
  • Roy Philon, DT
  • Jocquel Skinner, CB
  • R.J. Stanford, CB
  • Erik Williams, DE

In addition to those moves, cornerback Chris Owens has been placed on IR with an undisclosed injury. Broyles, 27, has spend the last three years with the Lions and appared in 21 total games. In his rookie season, the second round selection hauled in 22 catches for 310 yards and 2 touchdowns, leading many to wonder if he could be on his way to becoming a leading wide receiver. Since then, however, he has notched just 10 total catches.

Lions To Acquire Tim Wright, Cut Ryan Broyles

9:06am: The Lions are sending kicker Kyle Brindza to Tampa Bay in the deal for Wright, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com.

8:18am: For the second consecutive August, the Buccaneers have decided to trade tight end Tim Wright, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who tweets that Tampa Bay is sending Wright to the Lions. A year ago, the Bucs sent Wright to New England in a swap for Logan Mankins.

Playing behind Rob Gronkowski on the Patriots’ depth chart in 2014, Wright grabbed 26 balls for 259 yards and six touchdowns, receiving far fewer targets than he did in his 2013 rookie campaign with Tampa Bay. In ’13, Wright recorded 54 receptions on 76 targets.

New England moved on from Wright in June, and when the young tight end hit waivers, 10 teams – including the Lions – placed waiver claims on him, with the Bucs getting him back. In Detroit, Wright will join a group of tight ends that includes Brandon Pettigrew, Eric Ebron, and Joseph Fauria.

Meanwhile, another Lions pass-catcher, former second-round pick Ryan Broyles, will be waived after requesting his release from the team, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. According to Birkett, Broyles’ decision to ask to be let go was solidified after he played just 16 snaps during Detroit’s Friday win over Jacksonville, which was the latest sign that he likely wouldn’t make the team’s 53-man roster.

Since joining the Lions in 2012, Broyles has totaled just 420 yards and two touchdowns on 32 catches, with the majority of those catches and yards coming in his rookie year. He’ll have to pass through waivers unclaimed to become an unrestricted free agent.

North Notes: A.J. Green, K. Moore, Broyles

Four elite wide receivers–Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Julio Jones, and A.J. Green–entered this offseason hoping to sign lucrative extensions with their respective clubs. After Jones inked a five-year extension with Atlanta yesterday, Green is the only member of that group still looking for a long-term deal that will guarantee him $40-50MM and allow him to avoid the possibility of the franchise tag next year. Green didn’t have much to say on how the Jones deal will impact him personally, but per Paul Dehner, Jr. of The Cincinnati Enquirer, Green just got one step closer to his own big payday from the Bengals.

“We will see,” Green said. “If it happens, it happens. If it don’t I’ll go out there and play. We’ll see. All the receivers are getting bank so we will see if I get there.”

Now for some more links from the league’s north divisions:

  • In a pair of tweets, Dehner openly wonders how the Bengals will resolve their defensive line situation. At the moment, Cincinnati has 14 defensive linemen on the roster, and Dehner wonders if the team will keep as many as 10–which would be an extraordinarily high number–and if someone like Margus Hunt could get cut. The Bengals could also seek to trade some of their D-line depth.
  • The Ravens entered training camp looking for someone to step up and seize the return specialist job after the team parted ways with Jacoby Jones this offseason. Asa Jackson has gotten the most opportunities to do so, but as Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun writes, Jackson had an uneven game against Washington last night, returning a kickoff 103 yards to the Washington 2-yard line but also fumbling away a punt he had no business fielding. Head coach John Harbaugh said he still can’t handicap the return man competition.
  • With injuries to promising young players Breshad Perriman and Michael Campanaro keeping them out of action, Bo Smolka of CSNBaltimore.com writes that the Ravens are still looking for someone to grab the No. 2 receiver spot behind Steve Smith, Sr. Players like Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown have not been especially impressive in the preseason, which probably explains why the team was linked to veteran wideouts last week.
  • Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune writes that last night’s preseason debacle against Cleveland proves just how thin the Bears‘ roster really is. He notes that the team will be flush with salary cap room after the 2015 season but will have too many holes to fill to rely on free agency. Biggs says the Bears’ only option is to draft their way out of their current predicament, and that it will take two or three strong draft classes to do so.
  • When the Lions signed quarterback Kellen Moore to a two-year extension this offseason, they hoped he would take another step forward in his development, challenging for and potentially winning the backup quarterback job. Instead, as Justin Rogers of MLive.com writes, Moore has been outplayed by veteran Dan Orlovsky and is now in danger of being cut.
  • Kyle Meinke of MLive.com believes Ryan Broyles is one of the tough cuts the Lions will be forced to make this week.


North Notes: Hoyer, Gordon, Lions

After hearing last night that the Browns would be interested in bringing back Brian Hoyer, Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com delves into the never-ending Hoyer-Johnny Manziel saga once again. Specifically, Grossi notes that one of the most overlooked aspects of that conversation is the fact that Hoyer was returning from his first major injury and surgery in 2014. and that it is therefore reasonable to expect a natural uptick in his performance in 2015. Grossi also notes that, if Cleveland does bring Hoyer back, it is unlikely the team would sign another veteran quarterback like Josh McCown, but someone like Mike Glennon may be an option if Manziel does not return.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from the team’s north divisions:

  • The issues concerning Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon often take a backseat to the team’s quarterback drama, but Grossi points out in the piece linked above that the Browns are taking the position that Gordon was active for only five games during the year and therefore fell one game short of qualifying for a credited season towards free agency. If Cleveland is right, and if Gordon does not prevail in a potential grievance protesting the suspension, Gordon will be under contract for 2015 and will be a restricted free agent in 2016.
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes that, even though Lions wide receiver Ryan Broyles was healthy for the first time in his career in 2014, he appeared in just five games and is likely down to his last chance in Detroit.
  • Kyle Meinke of the Detroit Free Press looks at the Lions‘ options for upgrading their offensive line in free agency, pointing out that the team is unlikely to have enough cap space to sign the top linemen on the market, but a solid second-tier option like guard Orlando Franklin or tackle Michael Roos could be in play.
  • As they look to address perhaps their biggest position of need, the Ravens met with USC cornerback Josh Shaw during Senior Bowl week, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Coley Harvey of ESPN.com writes that tackle Marshall Newhouse is one of the free agents the Bengals will likely let go this offseason.

NFC Mailbags: Panthers, Cards, Lions

We took a look at ESPN’s AFC mailbags earlier this morning. Let’s now focus on notes from the NFC…

  • If the Panthers get a top-10 pick, David Newton believes the team will use their selection on an offensive tackle, a defensive back or a defensive lineman. When asked if the team would trade back for multiple assets, Newton says that “quality will be more important than quantity.”
  • Josh Weinfuss isn’t convinced the Cardinals will re-sign linebacker Sam Acho, stating that the team should be able to find an adequate replacement. Meanwhile, the writer believes the team should try to retain Antonio Cromartie for a reasonable price.
  • If Lions wideout T.J. Jones continues to prove that he’s capable of a bigger role, Ryan Broyles could ultimately find himself without a job, writes Michael Rothstein.
  • Ben Goessling is under the impression that Adrian Peterson will not be playing for the Vikings next season. Instead, he believes the team will go with Jerick McKinnon as their primary running back while pursuing a running back later in the draft.
  • John Keim says the league’s new CBA, which limits the interaction between players and coaches during the offseason, hurts the development of any young quarterback (including Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III).

Sunday Roundup: Smith, Broyles, Johnson

Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith entered the league out of the University of Maryland with high upside and explosive play-making ability, but he was still very raw. He struggled with drops in training camp prior to his rookie season in 2011, but he was given a chance to start against the Rams in Week 3 of that year when Lee Evans went down with an injury. In the first quarter in St. Louis, Smith recorded the first three receptions of his pro career; they all went for touchdowns.

Since then, even if Smith has not been the team’s No. 1 wideout by name, he has been the receiving threat that has garnered the most attention from opposing defenses. He has quietly become one of the premier deep threats in the game, but, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out, he enters his contract season with very little fanfare. The Ravens would like to extend his contract, but no progress has been made on that front as of yet. Although new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak does not run a pure West Coast offense–which means that Joe Flacco will still have a chance to take a few deep shots per game to burners like Smith and Jacoby Jones–Smith must become a more reliable short and intermediate route runner in order to thrive and earn a contract on par with some of the better receivers in the league. As Florio notes, Smith has every reason to emerge as one of the better wideouts in the game in 2014, and, given his work ethic and the strides he has made thus far, it would be foolish to bet against him.

Now for some more notes from around the league:

Birkett On Lions’ Roster

The Lions are still working to sign star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to an extension, and by doing so the team will gain some immediate cap relief, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter). He also notes that the team was in a similar situation when they freed up $3MM after signing quarterback Matthew Stafford last offseason.

Here are some other notes from Birkett from around the Lions (all links via Twitter):

NFC Notes: Bucs, Bucannon, Receivers

Mike Glennon is the Buccaneers‘ quarterback of the future, despite the arrival of Josh McCown via free agency. After McCown was announced as the starter, trade rumors began to circulate concerning Glennon, but head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht have come to the decision to support the quarterback they inherited, writes Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. They believe Glennon possesses the most important traits needed for a successful quarterback.

“The three things — and Lovie and I were in complete agreement on this — are toughness, intelligence and accuracy,’’ said Licht. “And then arm strength is a distant fourth. Mike showed during this process that he has those three things and he scored very high on those three things.”

Here are some other notes from around the NFC:

  • Although the Buccaneers have had a thin roster the past few seasons, Smith says that one of the most important aspects of winning is depth at multiple positions, writes Cummings. Specifically, Smith spoke about the team’s depth at safety and how impressed he is with the players they have.
  • Cardinals‘ first-round pick Deone Bucannon hasn’t provoked many negative statements from the organization, but head coach Bruce Arians tried to come up with one, writes Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. “(Deone has) only got one problem — He is so much a perfectionist,” said Arians. “It is paralysis by analysis right now because he wants to do everything just perfect.”
  • Lions‘ receiver Ryan Broyles is committed to returning from a ruptured achilles tendon that sidelined him in 2013, writes of Kyle Meinke of MLive.com“I’m looking forward to the competition. It’s never scared me away,” said Broyles. “But at the end of the day, we’re here to win. They’re going to put guys in place to help us win.”
  • Saints‘ receiver Kenny Stills is looking to get better in his second season with the team, writes Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. Stills could have an increased role in the offense after finishing 2013 strong, but has new competition as the team traded up to draft Oregon State receiver Brandin Cooks.

NFC Mailbags: Redskins, Rams, Panthers, Lions

It’s Saturday, and that means a fresh batch of mailbags from ESPN.com’s NFL writers. Let’s take a look at some from around the NFC…

  • Trent Murphy was certainly a fallback option for Brian Orakpo, but that doesn’t mean Orakpo won’t re-sign with the Redskins, says John Keim. He adds that the smart move would be to keep both players.
  • Ramswriter Nick Wagoner thinks the team will carry three quarterbacks, including Garrett Gilbert. He cautions that the rookie is not a lock to make the roster.
  • The money that the Rams would gain from cutting Austin Pettis could be enticing, Wagoner says. Stedman Bailey‘s suspension might mean that Pettis is sticking around, though.
  • Wagoner thinks the team will bring in a veteran linebacker, similar to what the team did last season with Will Witherspoon.
  • The Panthers will definitely be adding players as they’re cut from other teams, writes David Newton. The writer says General Manager Dave Gettleman is “saving money under the salary cap for a rainy day.”
  • The Lions could potentially keep six wide receivers on their 53-man roster, says Michael Rothstein. He lists Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate as locks and believes Jeremy Ross will find a spot. He says one of Kris DurhamKevin Ogletree and Naaman Roosevelt will make the roster, as well as one of T.J. Jones and Ryan Broyles. His wild card for the sixth spot would be Corey Fuller.
  • Rothstein doesn’t think the Lions should make a move right now for Asante Samuel. He adds that they could make a move for a cornerback eventually, especially if Chris Houston can’t return.
  • Dwayne Harris‘ job is safe with the Cowboys, opines Todd Archer. Besides being a solid wideout, his skills on special teams make him a lock.