Sammie Coates

NFL Workout Updates: 1/3/19

Today’s workout updates, all courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter):

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

  • WR Jordan Williams-Lambert

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Extra Points: CBA, Cowboys, Coates, Dez Bryant, Broncos Ownership

Many current and former players, as well as some team owners, have spoken out about the NFL’s Marijuana policy and called it archaic. After years of players facing lengthy suspension for using the substance, it appears change could finally be on the way. The league hopes to get rid of the ban on players smoking Marijuana, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, but there is a catch.

Florio reports that the league doesn’t just want to change the policy on their own, but they instead want to “dangle” potential changes in the next collective bargaining agreement to secure “a concession from the union in exchange for softening a policy that badly needs to be softened.” The next CBA negotiations are expected to be highly contentious, and there have been rumors another lockout could be on the way, so it’s not surprising the league wants every bit of leverage they can get.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • We heard earlier today that the Cowboys were working out receiver Sammie Coates, but don’t expect Dallas to sign him. The team isn’t going to sign the former Steeler and Brown, and were just “taking a look” at the wideout, according to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Forth-Worth Star Telegram (Twitter link). Coates was once a pretty productive and highly thought of receiver for Pittsburgh, but has had trouble staying in the league the past couple of seasons. Still only 25, the Auburn product will likely resurface somewhere soon.
  • Dez Bryant suffered a devastating Achilles injury just after finally signing with the Saints, but the 30-year-old plans to keep playing. “I have to. I got business and I got ball. I can’t end like this”, Bryant told a Dallas radio station, per Jon Machota of Dallas News (Twitter link). Bryant might not be ready for the start of the 2019 season, but should be able to find a home on a one-year prove it deal.
  • We’ve heard a lot about the Broncos’ ownership situation over the last few months, and now finally owner Pat Bowlen’s wife Annabel is speaking out. Annabel filed a motion and joined the ongoing legal saga, and filed her motion in support of the trust her husband set up to run the team, according to Kevin Vaughan of Denver 9 News. Pat’s brother Bill is currently suing, trying to get the trust dissolved and to seize control of the team.
  • The Giants worked out defensive lineman Kwaku Boateng, a source told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Boateng is a Canadian who has played very well in the CFL the past couple of years. This time of year it’s common to see CFL players get workouts for consideration for next season, as they aren’t eligible to be signed until after the season is over. Boateng has gotten workouts with the Chargers and Jets recently, so NFL scouts clearly see some potential there.

Cowboys Work Out WR Sammie Coates

The Cowboys are kicking the tires on wide receiver Sammie Coates, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Coates was cut loose by the Texans earlier this week and was not claimed on waivers, making him a free agent. 

Coates had one catch for 12 yards this year and mostly played on special teams for Houston. That’s likely to be his role in Dallas, if signed, though he could have an opportunity to do more since Tavon Austin is still working his way back from a groin strain.

Coates’ best season to date came in 2016 with the Steelers when he had 21 catches for 435 yards and two scores. In 2017, however, he had just six catches for 70 yards and zero touchdowns for Cleveland and his production dipped even further this year. Coates’ 37 snaps this year marked a career low.

The 8-6 Cowboys have a 94% chance of winning the NFC East, according to FiveThirtyEight. If they win at least one of their final two games, they’ll clinch the division and a playoff berth.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Release WR Sammie Coates

Texans wide receiver Sammie Coates has been released, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). came to Houston after being waived by the Browns in March, but he was hardly used in 2018. 

Coates’ best season to date came in 2016 with the Steelers when he had 21 catches for 435 yards and two scores. In 2017, however, he had just six catches for 70 yards and zero touchdowns for Cleveland. His production dipped even further this year with the Texans as he had just one catch for 12 yards.

Coates’ 37 snaps this year marked a career low and the former third-round pick is undoubtedly frustrated with how things have gone over the last couple of years. Still, he handled his exit from Houston with class.

Thank you Houston!!,” Coates wrote on social media. “Good Luck to y’all guys!

Coates will hit the waiver wire, making him and his contract available to the league’s other 31 teams. If he is not claimed within 24 hours, he will be an unrestricted free agent.

The Texans, meanwhile, will work to clinch the division without Coates on the depth chart. They have two games left against the Eagles and Jaguars, and they’ll sew up the AFC South with a win in either contest. The Texans can also clinch the division this week even if they fall to Philly if the Titans and Colts both lose their respective games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Claim WR Sammie Coates

The Texans have claimed wide receiver Sammie Coates off waivers from the Browns, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Because Coates is not a vested veteran, he hit the waiver wire instead of unrestricted free agency. 

[RELATED: Texans Depth Chart, Via Roster Resource]

With a 4-12 record, the Texans are fourth in the league’s waiver wire order, behind only the Browns, Giants, and Colts. It’s not immediately clear if any other teams attempted to claim Coates, but the Texans had the advantage over 27 other clubs.

Coates had just six catches for 70 yards with no touchdowns last year for Cleveland. His best season to date came in 2016 with the Steelers when he had 21 catches for 435 yards and two scores.

The Texans currently have Will Fuller, Braxton Miller, and Bruce Ellington as their top receivers after star DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans have nine receivers under contract in total, but there is certainly a chance for him to stick and make the final cut.

While Coates prepares to battle for a spot with the Texans, former Steelers teammate Markus Wheaton is on the market and meeting with the Seahawks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Release WR Sammie Coates

The Browns have released wide receiver Sammie Coates, as Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Coates has personally confirmed the news with a thank you to the Browns organization on Twitter

Coates arrived in Cleveland last September via a trade with the rival Steelers. That deal saw the Browns send a 2018 sixth-round selection to Pittsburgh with a 2019 seventh-round pick going back to the Browns.

Coates, a former third-round pick himself, didn’t do a whole lot for the Browns. He had six catches for 70 yards with no touchdowns, a step back from his 21 catches for 435 yards and two scores in the previous season.

Many had expected Coates to be a bigger part of the offense with the Browns. He was buried, to some degree, by the Steelers’ other talented receivers. In Cleveland, he had a chance to be third on the depth chart behind offseason addition Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman. Britt disappointed and Coleman was limited due to injury, but Coates was still not a major factor for them.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Trade Sammie Coates To Browns

Joe Haden won’t be the only AFC North player to see his old team when the Steelers and Browns convene in Cleveland come Week 1. Sammie Coates will be a part of the Browns in that contest after the Steelers traded him to Cleveland on Saturday, the team announced.

The Steelers shipped the wide receiver to the Browns in exchange for a 2018 sixth-round selection. Cleveland will also receive Pittsburgh’s 2019 seventh-round pick.

Coates was jockeying for position among a crowded Pittsburgh receiving corps, one that again has the services of Martavis Bryant. He, second-rounder JuJu Smith-Schuster and Eli Rogers comprise the Steelers’ top Antonio Brown complements.

Coates will see his tenure in western Pennsylvania conclude early after two underwhelming seasons.

The 6-foot-2 deep threat mostly observed as a rookie behind a Brown-, Bryant-, and Markus Wheaton-fronted Steelers receiving attack. But last season with Bryant suspended and Wheaton mostly sidelined, Bryant played in 14 games and started five. However, after a midseason spurt of productivity, the former Auburn talent struggled due partially to a broken finger. The 24-year-old Coates finished his Steelers run with just 22 receptions.

He figures to receive a better chance to play in Cleveland. The Browns have an opening behind Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman. Their five-wideout draft class of 2016 hasn’t produced a surefire second contributor behind Coleman, so Coates figures to compete with the Browns’ incumbents for work off the bench.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Bridgewater, Steelers, Ravens

Mike Zimmer shed some light on Teddy Bridgewater‘s progress recently, revealing (via Jay Glazer of Fox Sports; Twitter link) there is a “possibility” the fourth-year quarterback returns for the Vikings this season. Zimmer reiterates Bridgewater has not been able to practice yet, further pointing to an uncertain future for the former starting quarterback.

CBA language is murky regarding what could happen if Bridgewater begins the season the Reserve/PUP list, with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noting this, as written, would cause the passer’s contract to toll and keep him on the Vikings in 2018 as part of his rookie deal. While this subject has been broached a few times this offseason, Florio adds that this contract rule as applied would suggest Bridgewater would need to miss the entire season for his deal to be carried over onto Minnesota’s 2018 books. So, the former Louisville star returning from the PUP list this season could be pivotal for his career, even if Sam Bradford has a firm grip on the starting job.

This could be a drawn-out process for Bridgewater and the Vikings without a near-future resolution, but it’s definitely a worthwhile subplot to their season. Here’s the latest in relevant North-divisions subplots.

  • Several backups complemented Antonio Brown for the Steelers in the AFC championship game last season as injuries and unavailability mounted, and they’re almost all on the roster bubble now. Sammie Coates and Darrius Heyward-Bey are not locks to make the Steelers’ 53-man roster, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes. Coates, Heyward-Bey, Justin Hunter, Cobi Hamilton and Demarcus Ayers are fighting for the final two spots — behind Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers and JuJu Smith-Schuster, per Fittipaldo. The Steelers started Ayers, Hamilton and Heyward-Bey at least once apiece in their three-game playoff sojourn last season, but now that they are deeper, won’t need some of these players to return. Coates not being given a third year would be notable for the 2015 third-round pick, who’s been inconsistent, but the remainder of these players mostly saw action due to higher-level performers’ unavailability in 2016.
  • The Ravens aren’t as deep as their rivals at wideout, and injuries have limited the competition behind locks Jeremy Maclin, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun writes. Michael Campanaro, Chris Moore and Chris Matthews and rookie UDFA Quincy Adeboyejo lead the competition for the final spots, per Zreibec. This would stand to put Griff Whalen and Keenan Reynolds on the outside looking in. Zreibec calls the recently re-signed Campanaro close to a roster lock but assigns slipping stock to Moore. Adeboyejo may see a knee injury dash his hopes at making the team.
  • Bengals DC Paul Guenther discussed the prospect of acquiring defensive end Chris Smith with player personnel director Duke Tobin, expressing support for a move that eventually came April 11 via trade from the Jaguars, Paul Dehner Jr. of cincinnati.com reports. Smith participated in only 311 defensive plays in three Jacksonville seasons, and did not suit up in 10 games last season, but looks to have made a good case for more playing time in Cincinnati, Dehner Jr. writes.
  • Kyle Long not set to play in the Bears‘ third preseason game — and likely not Chicago’s fourth exhibition tilt — makes the guard’s Week 1 status uncertain, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. The Bears are being cautious with their top guard after he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in November 2016.

AFC Rumors: Steelers, Broncos, Titans

Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey‘s career could end when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s does, relays Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Pouncey’s still young (he’ll turn 28 in July), but it’s possible the seventh-year man and five-time Pro Bowler would rather hang it up than continue with someone other than Roethlisberger, who mulled retirement after last season and is entering his age-35 campaign. “It will be hard for me to come back if he’s not here,” Pouncey said of Roethlisberger. “Whenever you’re playing with that level of quarterback, to try to switch that up would be a different mojo for everybody on the team. … I’m glad he came back. We need him to win a championship around here.”

More on Pittsburgh and two other AFC clubs:

  • Three Broncos who have gone high in recent drafts, wide receiver Cody Latimer, offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo and tight end Jeff Heuerman, will have to fight for their roster spots in training camp, observes Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post. Latimer, a second-rounder in 2014, hasn’t made much of an impact as a receiver (16 career catches), and he’s not in position to change that with Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie ahead of him on the depth chart. As such, his best hope is to make the Broncos as a special teamer, posits Wolfe, who expects that to happen. Sambrailo, meanwhile, went in the second round a year later and has only totaled 13 appearances and seven starts. Even if he cracks the Broncos’ roster, Sambrailo seems likely to serve as primarily a backup again, as the team spent a first-rounder on tackle Garett Bolles this year after adding fellow bookend Menelik Watson on a three-year, $18.3MM deal in free agency. And then there’s Heuerman, a 2015 third-rounder who missed his entire rookie year with a torn ACL and then caught nine passes in 12 games last season. He’ll have to fend off Henry Krieger-Coble to make the team, notes Wolfe. Denver’s other tight end options include Virgil Green, A.J. Derby and fifth-rounder Jake Butt, a former Michigan standout who’s working back from the torn ACL he suffered in his final college game last December.
  • As a rookie last season, fifth-rounder Tajae Sharpe finished second among Titans wide receivers in catches (41), targets (83) and yards (522) in 2016. Nevertheless, it seems he’ll enter camp with a weak hold on a roster spot, writes Jason Wolf of the Tennesseean. The Titans used two valuable picks on receivers – Corey Davis in the first round and Taywan Taylor in the third – in the spring and then signed established veteran Eric Decker last week. Those additions combined with Sharpe’s questionable health (he recently underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his right foot) and a police investigation over an alleged assault have the 22-year-old in limbo, according to Wolf.
  • The fact that the Steelers have a deep receiving corps means third-year man Sammie Coates will have to battle for a spot in camp, suggests Fowler. Coates was a relatively high selection in 2015, when he went in Round 3 of the draft, but the ex-Auburn star has totaled just 22 receptions in 21 games as a Steeler. A broken finger and a groin injury likely contributed to Coates’ underwhelming output last season (21 catches on 49 targets, two touchdowns), and he indicated that he’s nearing full health with camp approaching. “I’m getting there. It’s a process,” said Coates, who underwent sports hernia surgery over the winter. “That’s what this process is for, to get your body back so you can compete during camp.”

Extra Points: JPP, Schaub, Garoppolo

Placing the estimated $16.955MM franchise tag on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul wouldn’t be ideal for the Giants, but they’ll have no other choice if they can’t reach a deal with the pass rusher by March 1, writes Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. While tagging Pierre-Paul would take a major bite out of the Giants’ cap room, it would keep an integral piece of their defense from hitting the open market and enable the team to continue working to re-sign him. That would be the Giants’ plan, per Vacchiano, who notes that the club would regard the tag as a placeholder in Pierre-Paul’s case. The Giants are currently pushing to re-sign JPP and will have until July 15 to reach a long-term agreement if they make him their franchise player.

More from around the NFL:

  • Falcons backup quarterback Matt Schaub, a pending free agent, is a candidate to serve as a stopgap starter in San Francisco next season. Regardless of whether it comes with the 49ers, the soon-to-be 36-year-old will go into free agency seeking a starting opportunity, he told Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Although Schaub is a two-time Pro Bowler with three 20-touchdown pass seasons on his resume, he hasn’t been particularly effective since 2012 and has spent the past three years as a reserve with three different teams. In 10 starts dating back to 2013, Schaub has tossed seven interceptions that have been returned for touchdowns. Clearly, then, there’s nothing in Schaub’s recent history to suggest he’d perform well as a starter in 2017.
  • With five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady not looking to retire anytime soon, an offseason trade of Patriots No. 2 quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo seems like a lock, observes Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com. The Bears and Browns – two teams that have extensive histories of trading with the Pats – stand out as the best fits, opines Hannable. The two have drawn connections to Garoppolo in recent weeks, and Hannable points out that each club has the necessary draft capital to acquire Garoppolo. The Browns, for instance, have five of the draft’s top 65 picks. The Bears aren’t quite that rich with selections, though they do possess three of the first 67 choices.
  • Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates announced Monday on Twitter that he underwent surgery on his pelvis. In theory, because the Steelers didn’t disclose the ailment on injury reports during the season, they could face NFL discipline, notes Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Pittsburgh is already under league investigation for not listing running back Le’Veon Bell‘s groin issue on playoff injury reports, though it seems unlikely the league will punish the team. After all, the Seahawks got off scot-free despite withholding information on Richard Sherman‘s ailing MCL in 2016. Further, Coates’ injury didn’t affect his participation in practice during the season, a source told Fowler.