Ryan Delaire

North Rumors: Bengals, Lamar, Lions, Bears

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson met with the Bengals on Monday, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. While the Bengals haven’t attempted to upgrade on incumbent signal-caller Andy Dalton in recent years, Jackson could potentially be available when the club picks at No. 21 in the first round. But as Dehner notes, Cincinnati might also be planning for other outcomes, such as a Jackson draft-day fall or a trade with another team. It’s conceivably the Bengals simply want to appear interested in quarterback prospects in an effort to goad a club into moving up. Currently, Cincinnati has free agent Matt Barkley and Jeff Driskel behind Dalton on its depth chart.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • The Lions have hosted Boston College edge rusher Harold Landry, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Detroit has added several interior defensive lineman so far this offseason, but the team has yet to address its pass-rushing need. Landry could help in that regard, but there’s no guarantee he’ll still be on the board at pick No. 20. For what it’s worth, Landry played under now-Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni at BC. Landry, who posted 48 sacks during his collegiate career, would not only give Detroit immediate help on the edge, but allow the Lions to hedge against a potential 2019 loss of franchise-tagged defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.
  • Darqueze Dennard finally lived up to his first-round billing in 2017, and the Bengals are now open to extending his contract, as Dehner writes in a separate piece. Under contract for one more season thanks to his fifth-year option, Dennard will earn $8.526MM in 2018 before hitting free agency next spring. The No. 24 overall selection in the 2014 draft, Dennard played 899 defensive snaps a season ago (nearly triple his previous career-high) and graded as the NFL’s 30th-best corner, per Pro Football Focus. Cincinnati is already heavily extended at cornerback, as it re-signed Dre Kirkpatrick and draft William Jackson III in 2016, but the club has always been willing to pay for secondary help.
  • The Bears will work out veteran defensive back Tharold Simon at their minicamp this week, tweets Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Simon, 27, didn’t see the field last season after inking a futures deal with the Redskins, as he was cut in May. A subsequent tryout with the Saints didn’t result in a contract, and Simon never generated any other known interest. However, Simon was a key contributor for the Seahawks in 2014, and as Bigg notes, has the type of size 6’2″, 200 pounds) that Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio covets. Wide receiver Marlon Brown and linebacker Ryan Delaire, each of whom boasts NFL experience, are also auditioning for the Bears, per Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link).

Cowboys Audition DE Ryan Delair

Former Panthers defensive end Ryan Delaire, who was out of football last year as he recovered from a torn ACL, worked out for the Cowboys on Friday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Delaire played 139 defensive snaps for the Panthers in 2016 in between two separate stints on injured reserve. In six games, Delaire managed five tackles, one sack, and one pass defensed.

Last year, he auditioned for the Giants and 49ers, but did not sign with either club. He also discussed a late-season deal with the Eagles in December, but his knee injury prevented him from passing their physical.

The Cowboys made one key defensive end depth signing this week when they inked another ex-Panther, Kony Ealy, to a low-cost one-year deal. If he signs with the Cowboys, Delaire is likely looking at an even cheaper deal with low/no guarantees.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 1/4/18

Today’s NFL workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Arizona Cardinals

  • G Greg Pyke (link)

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

  • DE Evan Panfil (link)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • LS Anthony Kukwa (link)

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

NFL Workout Updates: 10/27/17

Today’s workout updates:

Buffalo Bills

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Panthers Sign WR Trevor Graham

The Panthers have signed free agent wide receiver Trevor Graham, the club announced Monday. Graham, an ex-third-round pick of the Bills, formerly went by the first name T.J., but has since reverted to his given name. Carolina also signed center Greg Van Roten, waived/injured wideout Charles Johnson, and waived defensive end Ryan Delaire with a failed physical designation.T.J. Graham (Vertical)

Graham, who turns 28 years old later this week, is now the 13th receiver on Carolina’s roster, and if he makes the club, it will likely be because of his speed. A track athlete while at North Carolina State, Graham averaged 27 receptions and 342 yards during his first two years in the league (both with Buffalo), but hasn’t contributed on offense since.

While Graham’s skillset seemingly should make him a solid return man in the kicking game, that’s not a role he’s been asked to play throughout his NFL career. He’s returned just seven kickoffs during his time in the league, and has never returned a punt. In fact, in his two seasons with the Bills, Graham played only three total special teams snaps.

As such, it will be difficult for Graham to earn a spot on the Panthers’ roster unless he carves out a role as a deep threat à la Ted Ginn Jr. Given that Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Russell Shepard are locks to make Carolina’s squad, Graham will be competing with the likes of Damiere ByrdBrenton Bersin, and Kaelin Clay for reps during training camp.

Johnson — not to be confused with his former defensive end teammate of the same name — won’t be part of that receiver group, as he’s been cut following right knee surgery. He’ll go through waivers but won’t be claimed due to his injury, so he’ll revert to the Panthers’ injured reserve list. At that point, Carolina could agree to an injury settlement with the former Viking in order to clear him from IR. Johnson, 28, signed a one-year deal with a maximum value of $2.2MM earlier this offseason.

Delaire, meanwhile, played 139 defensive snaps for the Panthers a season ago in between two separate stints on injured reserve. In six games, Delaire managed five tackles, one sack, and one pass defensed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/27/16

A rundown of Tuesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Promoted from practice squad: WR Jake Kumerow, LB Trevor Roach

Jacksonville Jaguars

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

San Diego Chargers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Panthers Bring Ryan Delaire Back From IR

The Panthers are bringing defensive end Ryan Delaire back from injured reserve, the team announced Tuesday afternoon. Delaire was placed on IR with a knee injury in late September and became eligible for return this week. The team has now triggered a 21-day window to determine whether to put him on the active roster. Ryan Delaire (featured)

Delaire initially signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent out of Towson prior to the 2015 season. The Bucs thought highly of him, giving him a $15K signing bonus – quite a bit for a UDFA. However, he didn’t earn a spot on the club’s regular season roster, leading him to Carolina early on in the 2015 season.

The 6’4″, 265 pound athlete appeared in nine games for Carolina last year, tallying eight tackles and 2.5 sacks. This year, he saw time in two games before going to IR.

Teams can only bring one player back from IR under the new rules, but the Panthers didn’t have any priority players that fit the bill. So, Delaire gets to return as a reserve bookend, provided that all goes well in practice over the next three weeks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Jeffery, McCoy, Boyle, Cowboys

Alshon Jeffery could be entering free agency after this season and doing so on the heels of an unremarkable year, one now marred by the performance-enhancing drugs suspension. That suspension for the Bears‘ top target is expected to scare off “a number” of teams and could help lead to a tepid market for the Bears’ present top weapon, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report notes (video link).

Cole also points to other receivers like Michael Floyd or DeSean Jackson as cheaper options as also being a factor in Jeffery having to possibly accept a short-term deal. Kenny Britt would qualify here as well, although 2017 UFA Terrelle Pryor could be a prime candidate for an eight-figure AAV deal.

As many as 10 wideouts, in Cole’s view, being first- or second-round picks also could induce teams to be careful throwing money around for wide receivers. Jeffery is playing this season on the $14.59MM franchise tag and posted less-than-stellar numbers prior to his suspension. He of two 1,100-yard seasons, the 26-year-old Jeffery has just 630 and one touchdown for the struggling Bears.

Here’s more from around the league.

  • The Falcons‘ deal with Ryan Schraeder cements the $6MM/year range for right tackles, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) opines. Now, he envisions a similar range for Marcus Cannon (Patriots), Riley Reiff (Lions), and Ricky Wagner (Ravens).
  • Panthers defensive end Ryan Delaire returned to practice today. He’s eligible to come off IR this week if the Panthers choose to do so, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer notes (on Twitter). Carolina’s IR is not populated with key personnel, as Roster Resource shows, so that’s one less road block in this scenario.
  • Cowboys safety Barry Church has been sidelined with a fractured right forearm but he expects to be back in time to face Minnesota on Dec. 1 (Twitter link via Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News). Church says he’ll wear a cast when he plays.
  • Tony Romo attempting to make Dak Prescott‘s ascent to the Dallas starting job easier could benefit the veteran passer this offseason, Cole of notes (video link). The Cowboys, per Cole, could be more willing to accommodate the 36-year-old quarterback with a trade, with the NFL insider mentioning the Broncos and Chiefs as potential destinations.
  • Bills running back LeSean McCoy had a surgical procedure on his thumb Monday but he will be ready to play this Sunday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). McCoy has matched his career high with 5.2 yards per carry thus far this season.
  • Ravens tight end Nick Boyle’s suspension is now up, and the team will have one week to evaluate him before putting him on the 53-man roster, Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun reports (via Twitter). The second-year tight end’s now been popped for two PED suspensions. He will return to practice this week, but John Harbaugh said (via Zreibec, on Twitter) it’s not certain he plays Sunday.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/27/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The 49ers officially placed offensive lineman Anthony Davis on the exempt/left squad list after he retired yesterday, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Davis no longer counts against San Francisco’s 53-man roster.
  • The Cardinals announced that they have released long snapper Kameron Canaday, placed tight end Troy Niklas on IR, and released safety Marqui Christian. Christian, a Midwestern State product, was a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft.
  • The Giants announced that they have re-signed cornerback Michael Hunter. The club created a roster spot by placing Shane Vereen on injured reserve after he suffered a triceps injury.
  • The Bills waived kicker Jordan Gay, according to a team announcement. Gay is a kickoff specialist, and he’s never attempted a field goal during regular season action.
  • The Redskins are promoting offensive lineman Vinston Painter to the active roster, Master Tesfatsion of The Washington Post tweets. Painter will add depth to the front five while left guard Shawn Lauvao deals with an injury.
  • The Panthers cut safety Marcus Ball, per Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Defensive end Ryan Delaire has been placed on IR with a knee injury. Carolina needed two roster spots for the newly-signed Michael Griffin and Kyle Love.
  • The Cowboys will sign offensive lineman Emmett Cleary following the long-term injury to guard La’el Collins, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).
  • The Saints waived wide receiver Kyle Prater from injured reserve, Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets.

Panthers Cut Colin Cole, Sign Ryan Delaire

The Panthers continue to make changes on their defensive line, adding another pass rusher and dropping a veteran defensive tackle to do so. According to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer (via Twitter), Carolina has signed defensive end Ryan Delaire from Washington’s practice squad, releasing Colin Cole to create room on the 53-man roster.

Delaire initially signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent out of Towson this spring, and the $15K signing bonus he received from Tampa Bay was one of the largest for any UDFA. However, he didn’t earn a spot on the club’s regular season roster, and landed on Washington’s taxi squad shortly after being cut by the Bucs. He’ll join a Panthers squad that will be without top pass rusher Charles Johnson for at least the next eight weeks, as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

Cole, meanwhile, has been a key player for the Panthers since 2013, starting 26 of the 31 regular season games he played for the team during his first two seasons with the team. He has seen his part-time role reduced even further early in 2015 though, with Kawann Short, Dwan Edwards, and Kyle Love seeing most of the playing time at defensive tackle. Cole played just 49 defensive snaps during the first three weeks.

As David Newton of ESPN.com points out, the Panthers’ decision to release Cole “speaks volumes” about how the team feels about Love, as well as highlighting Carolina’s need at defensive end. Delaire is the second defensive end added to the roster this week, joining Jared Allen, who was acquired in a trade with the Bears.

Cole will immediately become a free agent without having to pass through waivers, so he’ll be free to join any team. His one-year, minimum salary benefit contract with Carolina included a modest $80K signing bonus, so the Panthers won’t carry much dead money on their cap after parting ways with him.