Stephen Denmark

Patriots Work Out Four Running Backs

With James White sidelined indefinitely, the Patriots are eyeing some free agent running backs. The team worked out Ito Smith, Ryquell Armstead, Dontrell Hilliard, and Artavis Pierce today, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

[RELATED: Patriots’ James White Out Indefinitely]

Smith has the most experience among the four, seeing time in 35 games in three seasons with the Falcons. This included a 2020 campaign where he finished with 343 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown. The 26-year-old caught on with the Vikings this offseason but was let go before the regular season.

Armstead got into 16 games as a rookie with the Jaguars in 2019, finishing with 252 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. He sat out the 2020 season while dealing with issues from COVID-19, and after getting claimed by the Giants in May, he was waived by his new team in June. Pierce, a 2020 undrafted free agent out of Oregon State, saw time in five games with the Bears last season, rushing for 34 yards and one touchdown on six carries. Hilliard, 26, saw time in 30 games for the Browns in two-plus seasons with the organization.

White suffered a hip injury during Sunday’s loss to the Saints, and the veteran will be sidelined for the foreseeable future. The team is already rostering four other RBs in Damien Harris, J.J. Taylor, rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, and special teamer Brandon Bolden.

The Patriots didn’t only audition running backs today. The team also took a look at defensive backs D.J. Daniel and Stephen Denmark and wideout Anthony Johnson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Cut 26 Players

The Packers cut their roster down to 52 players today, providing the organization with some extra flexibility over the next few days. The team announced the following transactions:

Waived

Released

Placed on Reserve/PUP

Placed on Reserve/Suspended

Packers Place Devin Funchess On IR

It does not look like Devin Funchess‘ Packers career will end up leading to any regular-season games. For the second straight year, the veteran wide receiver will not play for Green Bay.

The Packers placed Funchess on IR Wednesday. This move will end his season. While an injury settlement would allow Funchess to catch on with another team and play in 2021, Wednesday’s transaction will prevent him from suiting up for the Packers this year.

Funchess has not played since Week 1 of the 2019 season. An injury landed him on the Colts’ IR list that year. He then opted out of the 2020 season. The former Panthers draftee was set vying for a role in a now-crowded Packers receiving corps but suffered an injury during a Packers-Jets joint practice last week. Funchess did play in Green Bay’s preseason opener, showing some promise with a six-catch, 70-yard outing. It will be interesting to see if he lands elsewhere later this year.

The 27-year-old wideout signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with the Packers in 2020. That deal tolled to 2021 after Funchess’ opt-out. That contract represented the highest-profile receiver move of the Packers’ scrutinized 2020 offseason, which brought Jordan Love to town but no other wideouts of note. A year later, however, young pass catchers Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have more experience and are set to reprise their supporting-cast roles. The Packers also traded for Randall Cobb and drafted Clemson’s Amari Rodgers in Round 3. Funchess accepted a pay cut earlier this offseason.

A former second-round pick, Funchess broke out during Carolina’s 2017 playoff season. The 6-foot-4 receiver caught 63 passes for 840 yards and eight touchdowns. Beyond that year, however, the Michigan product has not surpassed 550 yards in a season. While the Colts and Packers gave him one-year contracts, Funchess has seen his career stall since leaving the Panthers.

Additionally, the Packers signed defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson and cornerback Stephen Denmark. They waived wide receiver Chris Blair as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/17/21

Tuesday afternoon marked the deadline for teams to cut down from 90 to 85 players. We’ll keep track of those cuts and the day’s other minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: WR Jeff Badet

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/1/20

We’ll keep track of the NFL’s latest practice squad moves here:

Cleveland Browns

  • Released: CB Stephen Denmark

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Minnesota Vikings

  • Released: CB Marcus Sayles

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Signed: RB Pete Guerriero

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Football Team

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/10/20

Here are the NFL’s recent practice squad moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

  • Released: C Cohl Cabral

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Bears Announce 16-Man Practice Squad

Teams are starting to announce their full expanded practice squads, and we’ll be bringing you recaps all day. Just in is the Chicago Bears, who announced a full slate of 16 players:

  • QB Tyler Bray
  • RB Artavis Pierce
  • WR Reggie Davis
  • S Stephen Denmark
  • WR Thomas Ives
  • WR Rodney Adams
  • TE Jesper Horsted
  • OL Sam Mustipher
  • OL Jamon Brown
  • OL Lachavious Simmons
  • OL Badara Traore
  • DT Abdullah Anderson
  • DE LaCale London
  • LB Rashad Smith
  • S Xavier Crawford
  • K Cairo Santos

Bray has bounced between the practice squad and active roster the past couple of years now, and will serve as the third quarterback behind Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. Santos is a veteran kicker with a good amount of experience. Right after he was cut we heard the Bears might be planning on him kicking Week 1 against the Lions if Eddy Pineiro still isn’t ready to come back from his groin injury.

Everybody on this list was with the Bears for camp except Brown, who was cut by the Falcons last month. He signed a three-year $18.75MM deal last March, and started nine games for Atlanta last season.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Bears, Lions, Packers and Vikings are noted below.

Additionally, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads today. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

Bears Cut 34, Reach Max

The Bears reached the NFL’s mandatory 53-man limit by dropping 34 players and placing two players on IR.

Here’s the full breakdown:

Waived:

RB Josh Caldwell
RB Ryan Nall
WR Tanner Gentry
WR Taquan Mizzell Sr.
WR Marvin Hall
WR Thomas Ives
WR Joe Walker
WR Jordan Williams-Lambert
TE Ellis Richardson
TE Jesper Horsted
TE Ian Bunting
OL Jordan McCray
OL Alex Bars
OL Sam Mustipher
OL Marquez Tucker
OL Joe Lowery
OL Tommy Doles
DE Jonathan Bullard
DL Jonathan Harris
DL Jalen Dalton
DL Daryle Banfield
LB Jameer Thurman
OLB Chuck Harris
OLB Matt Betts
CB Michael Joseph
CB John Franklin III
CB Clifton Duck
S Jonathon Mincy Sr.
S Doyin Jibowu
LS John Wirtel
OLB Kylie Fitts
OLB James Vaughters
CB Stephen Denmark

Released:

QB Tyler Bray

Placed on IR:

TE Dax Raymond
G Blake Blackmar

Bears Sign Three Rookies

The Bears have started to ink their draft picks to contracts. The team announced tonight (via Twitter) that they’ve signed three rookies to deals:

Ridley is the most notable name on the list, and that’s not entirely due to his draft stock. Rather, the Georgia product is the younger brother of Falcons wideout Calvin Ridley. Chicago selected Ridley following another productive collegiate season, as the receiver hauled in 43 receptions for 559 yards and nine scores.

Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Anthony Miller seem to have a solid hold on the top three spots on the Bears’ depth chart. However, Ridley could give a pair of free agent additions, Cordarrelle Patterson and Marvin Hall, a run for that fourth spot.

Whyte should have a shot at making the Bears roster as a third or fourth running back behind Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen, as he’ll be competing with unproven options like Ryan Nall, Taquan Mizzell, and fellow rookie David Montgomery,. Denmark will have a more difficult time establishing a role on a team that added free agents Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Buster Skrine.

Following these moves, the Bears have two unsigned draft picks remaining: Montgomery and cornerback Duke Shelley.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.