October 11th, 2017 at 9:50pm CST by Dallas Robinson
Free agent tight end Will Tye took a meeting with the Patriots today, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Waived by the Jets during final cutdowns, Tye has had a busy week: he worked out for the Chiefs last Friday before auditioning for the Ravens yesterday. Evan Baylis, a fellow tight end who went undrafted earlier this year, was also in town, per Reiss. New England currently has three tight ends on its roster in Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen, and Jacob Hollister.
Here’s more from the AFC East:
While Jarvis Landry won’t face any legal ramifications after battery charges against him were dropped last month, the Dolphins wide receiver will still meet with NFL regarding the allegations on October 24, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Both Landry and his girlfriend have refuted the accusations, but the league has often punished players even when no official charges are filed, and the NFL reportedly has video of the incident in question. From an on-field perspective, Landry is a pending free agent who has engaged in no substantive extension talks with Miami.
Linebacker David Harris will face his former club when the Patriots play the Jets in Week 6, but Harris may not be long for the New England roster, as Reiss details in examining Harris’ lack of play time. Harris is essentially being retained for his leadership abilities, as Reiss opined last week, and the veteran defender has played only seven snaps in 2017. A lack of base packages and Harris slow speed and subpar acumen in pass coverage have lead to a decreased role, and Harris could be released when fellow ‘backer Shea McClellin returns from injured reserve later this year.
Given that the Dolphins rank 31st in offensive DVOA and 32nd in points scored, Miami could potentially “refit” its offense in 2018, reports Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Not much can be done about the club’s lackluster efforts in-season, as benching players could create locker room dysfunction. But changes could come next year, and the most obvious would be Ryan Tannehill returning to replace quarterback Jay Cutler. Allowing Landry to walk in free agency and reinforcing the offensive line could also be on the Dolphins’ itinerary.
The Bills worked out Baylis and fellow tight end Sam Cotton, linebacker Folarin Orimolade, and defensive backs Jordan Dangerfield and Harold Jones-Quartey on Tuesday, per veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitterlinks). Of that group, Jones-Quartey has the most NFL experience, as he stated 12 games for the Bears a season ago.
Karras was widely projected to be the team’s top backup on the interior line, so his release comes as a surprise. The 24-year-old was drafted by the Pats in the sixth round of the 2016 draft and played in all 16 regular season games last year. He also appeared in all three playoff games as a reserve.
O’Shaughnessy, acquired via trade in April, was competing for the third tight end spot. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder has played in 23 NFL games with six starts.
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill believes the team’s 2017 offense will be the best he has ever played with, and James Walker of ESPN.com agrees with him. On paper, Miami does boast a great deal of talent at the skill positions, but as Walker observes, the Dolphins still have some depth problems. Jay Ajayi was a revelation in 2016, but what happens if he should go down with an injury, or if he needs to be spelled from time to time as the season progresses? Could Kenyan Drake or Damien Williams step up? And can Leonte Carroo be counted on to complement Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry, and DeVante Parker, or even carry the load if one of those players should get hurt? Will Mike Pouncey stay healthy for a full season. Of course, every team can ask itself similar questions, but for the Dolphins’ offense to take a step forward this year, it will need to stay healthy or else get contributions from unlikely sources.
Now for more from the AFC:
As Mike Reiss of ESPN.com observes, the Patriots don’t have many major position battles, but one to keep an eye on is at backup tight end. Of course, Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen are entrenched in the top spots, but given Gronk’s health issues, the No. 3 TE could end up playing a significant role. As it currently stands, Matt Lengel and James O’Shaughnessy will compete with UDFAs Jacob Hollister and Sam Cotton for the job.
Steelers LB Bud Dupree was drafted with the thought that he could become the next great Pittsburgh pass rusher, and given the way he performed down the stretch in 2016, the team believes the third-year pro is ready to make the leap. As Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review points out, Dupree did not start his first game in 2016 until Week 14 — he began the year on injured reserve and was slowly eased back into action — but in that Week 14 matchup, Dupree played all but one snap and racked up 2.5 sacks (he ended the regular season with 4.5 sacks). He also recorded a half-sack in the playoffs while playing all but three snaps, so he appears primed for a breakout in 2017.
The Browns finished 1-15 last season, and most think they will be lucky to get to six or seven wins in 2017, but Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says head coach Hue Jackson is not on a short leash. The team’s front office realizes it was again looking at a multi-year overhaul when it hired Jackson, and Jackson will get a chance to see it through (assuming he wants to, of course).
Some are wondering why Chad Henne is still on the Jaguars roster even though he does not have a pass attempt since 2014, but Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union has a succinct answer. O’Halloran says, “Henne has experience in many offenses. He has experience working with new coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. And he has accepted being a sounding board for Blake Bortles. That’s why [he] is here.” Of course, as we heard last month, second-year player Brandon Allen could unseat Henne with an impressive preseason.
A week after signing Charles Walker, the Eagles have waived/injured the former Oklahoma defensive tackle, citing a knee ailment. Walker declared for the draft in November, thus ending his career with the Sooners before their season concluded. As a result, he drew widespread criticism – including from head coach Bob Stoops – but Walker explained in a pre-draft letter to teams that a battle with depression was at the root of his decision. Walker also noted that he’s now doing better, but he still ended up going undrafted.
The Patriots have waived guard Chris Barker and signed a pair of players – offensive lineman James Ferentz and undrafted free agent tight end Sam Cotton – Mike Reiss of ESPN.com was among those to report (on Twitter). Barker appeared in six games with the Pats from 2013-15. Ferentz, the son of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz (a friend and former colleague of Bill Belichick‘s), played his college ball with the Hawkeyes and then went undrafted in 2014. He appeared in 20 games, including seven last season, with the Broncos from 2015-16. Cotton, meanwhile, attended Nebraska and posted modest numbers there over the previous four years, catching 17 passes and three touchdowns.
The Panthers have claimed defensive tackle Toby Johnson off waivers from the Vikings, tweets Howard Balzer of BalzerFootball.com. Carolina has waived linebacker Kyle Kragen in a corresponding move, reports David Newton of ESPN.com. Johnson, meanwhile, hit the waiver wire on Wednesday, when Minnesota parted with him after he played in two of the team’s games last year.