Sean Davis

Steelers Sign S Sean Davis, Claim QB Josh Dobbs, Cut QB Devlin Hodges

The Steelers are bringing back a couple of familiar faces. Pittsburgh is signing safety Sean Davis and they’ve claimed quarterback Josh Dobbs off waivers from the Jaguars, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links).

In order to make room for Dobbs, the team has cut fellow quarterback Devlin Hodges. The Steelers drafted Davis in the second round in 2016, and he spent his first four years in Pittsburgh. He started 31 games between 2017-18, but missed almost all of last season due to injury. He signed a one-year deal worth $5MM with Washington this offseason, but couldn’t make it out of camp.

During these uncertain times, teams are clearly placing an emphasis on familiarity and system knowledge. Davis played closer to the line of scrimmage his first couple of pro seasons, but moved to free safety in 2018. The Steelers drafted Dobbs in the fourth-round in 2017, but he became expendable when they drafted Mason Rudolph the following year and they ended up trading him to Jacksonville.

Dobbs lost the battle in Jacksonville to be Gardner Minshew‘s backup, which is how he ended up on waivers. Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a season-ending elbow injury, and Pittsburgh apparently wants all the insurance they can get behind him.

Hodges was an incredible story last year, as the unheralded UDFA from Samford was promoted from the practice squad after Big Ben went down and ended up starting games. Hodges ended up starting six games, becoming a fan favorite in the process. He declined sharply as more tape on him became available, but he’ll still probably end up on Pittsburgh’s or someone else’s practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Washington Cuts CB Aaron Colvin, Moves Down To 53

Here is how Washington trimmed its camp roster down to the 53-man regular-season limit. Some notable veterans did not make the squad.

Waived:

Released:

Placed on IR:

Washington added Colvin last year, doing so after the Texans cut him early in the season. The veteran has played six seasons, seeing action with the Jaguars, Texans and Washington. He will head back to free agency. As with Rodgers, who was the most notable tight end on Washington’s roster entering camp. Following the exits of Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis — and Thaddeus Moss‘ IR trip — Washington does not feature much of note at the position.

Mr. Irrelevant in 2018, Quinn latched on with Washington for two seasons. He operated as Washington’s slot receiver for a time, but with a new regime running the show now, Quinn will head to the waiver wire. However, he would certainly profile as a player who could be added to Washington’s 16-man practice squad. Garnett would as well.

The team added Garnett during training camp, but the former first-round pick has never managed to carve out a consistent role as a pro.

Washington Cuts S Sean Davis, Places LB Reuben Foster On IR

Our first surprise move of Labor Day weekend comes out of Washington. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the team has released safety Sean Davis. Schefter tweets that the team has also cut offensive lineman Timon Parris, while ESPN’s John Keim tweets that Reuben Foster is being placed on IR.

Davis joined Washington this past offseason, snagging a deal that included a $2MM signing bonus. Now, the former second-rounder will be seeking his third team in less than a year. Davis spent his first four seasons with the Steelers. He started 31 games for the team between 2017 and 2018, averaging 86 tackles, 7.5 passes defended, and two interceptions per season. A shoulder injury limited to only a single game in 2019.

Back in 2019, Foster suffered a torn ACL and MCL during his first practice with Washington. That naturally forced him to miss the entire campaign, but after opening 2020 camp on PUP, he was activated by the organization in early August. Unfortunately, Foster has lacked strength and explosiveness throughout the month, and Washington is buying themselves some time (and a roster spot) by placing him on IR.

An undrafted free agent out of Stony Brook in 2018, Parris has seen time in four NFL games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Davis, Roberts, Haeg

Let’s take a closer look at the details of a few recently-signed free agent contracts:

AFC

NFC

  • Sean Davis, S (Redskins): One year, $4MM. $2MM guaranteed (Twitter link via John Keim of ESPN.com).
  • Seth Roberts, WR (Panthers): One year, $3.75MM (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of ESPN.com).
  • Zach Kerr, DT (Panthers): Two years, $3MM. Unknown incentives available (Twitter link via Garafolo).
  • B.J. Goodson, LB (Browns): One year, $2.4MM. $2.25MM guaraneed. $1.25MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).
  • Joe Haeg, T (Buccaneers): One year, $2.3MM. $1.5MM guaranteed. Up to $1MM available via playtime incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Cedric Ogbuehi, T (Seahawks): One year, $2.3MM. $500K guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com).
  • Will Parks, S (Eagles): One year, $1.5MM. $1.375MM guaranteed. $375K signing bonus. Up to $125K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Tajae Sharpe, WR (Vikings): One year, $1MM. $675K guaranteed. $175K signing bonus. Max value of $1.5MM (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Sharrod Neasman, S (Falcons): One year, $950K. $40K signing bonus. Veteran salary benefit (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Joe Walker, LB (49ers): One year, $900K. Max of $75K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Wilson).

Redskins To Sign Sean Davis

The Redskins continue to add to their defense. Washington has agreed to terms with linebackers Thomas Davis and Kevin Pierre-Louis as well as cornerback Kendall Fuller over the past couple of days, and now they’re adding a safety.

The ‘Skins will sign Sean Davis to a one-year deal worth $5MM, his agent Drew Rosenhaus tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). New Washington coach Ron Rivera is a defensive-minded coach, so it’s not a surprise that he’s making revamping that side of the ball a priority.

The Steelers drafted Davis 58th overall in 2016, and he became a solid starter for the team. He started 31 games from 2017-18, racking up 172 tackles, 15 passes defended, and four interceptions in those two years. Unfortunately his 2019 campaign was ended after just one game due to a serious shoulder injury.

Davis played closer to the line of scrimmage his first couple of years in the league, but moved to free safety in 2018. The Redskins have had a lot of talent on paper on defense the past couple of years, but it never really materialized. They’re hoping that with Rivera and new DC Jack Del Rio’s presence, as well as these additions, the unit can finally take a big step forward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Place S Sean Davis On IR

The Steelers’ blockbuster trade Monday night makes more sense now. Minkah Fitzpatrick will take Sean Davis‘ roster spot. Pittsburgh’s fourth-year safety landed on IR due to a shoulder injury he suffered Sunday.

Davis missed the Steelers’ opener with an ankle injury, and after the Week 2 malady, the improving back-line defender will be out at least eight weeks. This marks a rough development in Davis’ contract year.

This was set to be a prove-it year for the former second-round pick, with the Steelers not planning to give Davis an extension before this season’s conclusion. Davis has started 41 games with Pittsburgh since his 2016 rookie slate, and after a brutal 2017, he showed promise last season.

Fitzpatrick did not have a clear role in Miami. Playing safety alongside the Steelers’ 2018 first-round pick, Terrell Edmunds, may be his first job in Pittsburgh.

Steelers Won’t Extend Dupree, Davis, Hargrave Before Season

While the Steelers are working on a new contract for cornerback Joe Haden, the club doesn’t plan to negotiate extensions for edge rusher Bud Dupree, safety Sean Davis, or defensive tackle Javon Hargrave before the start of the regular season, according to Ed Bouchette of The Athletic. All three defenders will become free agents at season’s end, but Pittsburgh isn’t planning to discuss new deals until the offseason.

The Steelers may have a myriad of reasons not to extend Dupree, Davis, and/or Hargrave, but financial concerns are almost certainly at play. Pittsburgh currently has the fourth-least amount of cap space (~$5.213MM) in the NFL, per Over the Cap, and the club’s outlook isn’t much better next year. In 2020, the Steelers project to have just $7.7MM in available funds, seventh-least in the league.

Dupree, a first-round pick in the 2015 draft, will earn more than $9MM in 2019 while playing under his fifth-year option. An athletic testing marvel coming out of Kentucky, Dupree has mostly failed to put those traits to use in the NFL. He’s posted only 20 sacks through four seasons, and last year ranked 45th among 58 qualifying edge rushers in Pro Football Focus’ pass-rush productivity, which measures pressure created on a per-snap basis with an emphasis on sacks.

After spending most of his first two pro seasons closer to the line of scrimmage, Davis moved to free safety full-time in 2018, spending 779 of his 1,104 defensive snaps playing center field. The change was for the best, as Davis fared much better playing deep than he had in the box. He’s since hired super-agent Drew Rosenhaus, and noted the safety market’s recent explosion could have a commensurate effect on his next contract.

Like most run-clogging interior defenders in today’s NFL, Hargrave isn’t quite a full-time player. In each of his three seasons with the Steelers, he’s played between 43% and 50% of the club’s defensive snaps. Hargrave, who’s missed only one game in his career, could be a candidate for more passing down work in 2019 after posting 6.5 sacks and earning PFF’s 16th-highest pass-rush grade among defensive tackles last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Steelers, McSorley, Lions

The Steelers have a few players they need to take care of. Cornerback Joe Haden is looking for an extension, and all indications are that he’s going to get it. Javon Hargrave‘s situation has flown a bit more under the radar, but he’s also heading into the final year of his deal. The Steelers drafted the defensive tackle in the third round in 2016, and he’s started at least 12 games for Pittsburgh every year since. Hargrave has been keeping quiet about his contract, but Mark Kaboly of The Athletic thinks Hargrave will get an extension from the Steelers before the start of the season.

The Steelers restructured Stephon Tuitt‘s contract late last month to free up some cap space, and Kaboly thinks they’ll use some of it here. He also writes that “Haden’s extension could very well add money to the cap so money shouldn’t be an issue.” He also notes that Haden, Hargrave, and safety Sean Davis all have a self-imposed deadline of Week 1 for a new contract to get done by. Kaboly writes that it seems like Davis “is the odd man out” in that trio, indicating he might be playing out his walk year without a new deal. Davis recently signed with superagent Drew Rosenhaus, and said at the time he was looking to land top safety money next offseason.

Here’s more from the league’s North divisions:

  • Ravens rookie quarterback Trace McSorley is doing everything he can to make the team, and it seems to be working. Baltimore indicated as soon as they drafted him in the sixth round out of Penn State that they planned to use him on special teams and perhaps as a returner, in a similar role as Taysom Hill with the Saints. McSorley “has shown Ravens enough to warrant a spot on the 53-man roster,” even after Robert Griffin III returns from his injury, writes Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Hensley points out that McSorley will give the Ravens necessary depth “in an offense where QBs will take hits running the ball.”
  • The Lions gave offensive lineman Joe Dahl an extension last week, and now we have the full details. His two-year extension will be worth $3.6MM in new money, with a signing bonus of $750K, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. The signing bonus appears to be the only fully guaranteed money, although his $1.1MM salary for 2020 becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the new league year. Rothstein also has the breakdown on the various roster and workout bonuses he’ll receive assuming he makes it through the duration of the contract. The Lions drafted Dahl in the fifth round back in 2016 and he’s served as a reserve guard ever since, starting four games over the past two years.
  • In case you missed it, it looks like Ravens slot corner Tavon Young will miss the entire 2019 season after suffering a “serious” neck injury in practice.

AFC North Notes: Josh Johnson, Ravens, Kareem Hunt

With the news that Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin would miss time with a fractured bone on his thumb, the team worked out free agent quarterback Josh Johnson, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted.

A journeyman signal-caller over the last decade, Johnson has suited up in the regular season with five teams — Buccaneers, Browns, Bengals, 49ers and Redskins — but has been a part of numerous others. He received an extended look under center with Washington in 2018, when he started three games and threw for 590 yards and three touchdowns.

A mobile QB, Johnson fits Baltimore’s run-heavy attack and has worked under Harbaugh in the past. Johnson reportedly had ankle surgery in March, so assuming he receives a clean bill of health during his workout, the veteran makes plenty of sense to work under second-year signal-caller Lamar Jackson.

Here’s more from around the AFC North:

  • Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam addressed the media about Kareem Hunt, stating that talks are still ongoing with the league and players association regarding the team’s attempt to have Hunt remain with the team through the upcoming eight-game suspension, the Akron Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich tweeted, Dee Haslam also noted Hunt has to work really hard to be a part of the Browns and that it’s up to him, Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot tweeted.
  • Sticking in Cleveland, second-year defensive end Chad Thomas gave the middle finger to a fan who heckled Thomas to hustle on Sunday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Coach Freddie Kitchens addressed the incident, saying that if the two of them had a conversation it would stay between them. “Of course, Chad Thomas, as you guys see, he is very emotional, a passionate guy. I want those guys to play with passion, but he is also a young guy so he has to understand and develop a sense of when to move on. I think he will learn.” Since it was not done during a game, the Browns instead of the NFL will handle any type of punishment.
  • Steelers safety Sean Davis suffered a finger injury that could possibly be a dislocation, coach Mike Tomlin said [Tweet via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler]. Davis has started 31 of a possible 32 games the past two seasons in Pittsburgh, registering four interceptions and 15 pass breakups.

North Notes: Green, Bears, Mack, Steelers

A.J. Green is entering the final season of a four-year, $60MM contract. He is also coming off another injury-shortened slate, with a toe malady cutting it short. Bengals owner Mike Brown said earlier this year he would be interested in Green staying in Cincinnati on another deal. Green expressed the same sentiment over the weekend.

Cincinnati is home for me,” Green said, via FOX 19 in Cincinnati (video link). “I’ve been here nine years. This is home as much as South Carolina. All I know is Cincinnati. I can’t see myself playing anywhere else or playing in a different city. Hopefully I can be here for a couple more years, so we’ll see on that part.”

Green is entering his age-31 season and has missed 13 games over the past three years, but the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver has proven to be one of the best players in Bengals history. The Bengals extended two other cornerstones last year, in Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, and Brown called the wideout a “proven commodity” earlier this year. No known talks have commenced between Green and Bengals. The receiver also said, via FOX 19, he has been cleared from the toe surgery he underwent in December. It is not certain if he will participate in Cincinnati’s minicamp next week.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • During the 2018 Khalil Mack pursuit, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy began calling their Raiders counterparts (Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden) about the All-Pro edge defender once training camp began last year. But the Bears’ prevailing thought as of late July 2018 was, in the words of player personnel director Josh Lucas, “What are we doing? They’re not going to trade this guy,” Lucas said (via J.J. Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago). But shortly before Chicago’s final preseason game — which occurred a day after the Aaron Donald extension, and as the Raiders’ patience with Mack was running out — Bears brass were told to submit their best offer. That proposal (a package fronted by two first-round picks and a third-rounder) won out. “I think we had an advantage because they wanted him to get out of the AFC, so being an NFC team, I think we had a pretty good chance,” Lucas said. “I don’t think the Raiders thought we were going to be any good last year, so they wanted our first-round pick. So I think that played a part of it.
  • After Adrian Amos and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix started the 2018 season as Bears and Packers safeties, the respective back-line defenders switched cities this year. Clearly on a roll at the Bears100 Celebration this week, Lucas added (via Stankevitz, on Twitter) the Bears consistently graded Clinton-Dix as superior to Amos. Pro Football Focus would disagree with the Bears’ assessment, particularly in 2017 (when the site gave Amos a 90.9 grade and Clinton-Dix a 71.5 mark). The Bears also landed Clinton-Dix for far cheaper (one year, $3MM) than the deal the Packers gave Amos (four years, $36MM), pointing to other teams sharing PFF’s view.
  • Sean Davis switched agents in advance of his contract year, moving from MBK sports management to Drew Rosenhaus, the safety confirmed (via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Davis said no extension talks have occurred between he and the Steelers and noted the safety market’s 2019 explosion as a reason he may bet on himself this season. “I just felt like I needed a change,” Davis said, via Fittipaldo, of switching from Eugene Lee to Rosenhaus. “Drew is a top agent, man. … The safety market went up this year. That puts a little more pressure on me to get the job done and to compete for those contracts.” After faring better as a free safety than he did at the strong safety spot in 2017, Davis will remain there this season.