Stephone Anthony

Jets Reach 53-Man Max

The Jets did more than just cut a 2019 third-round pick on Saturday, making nearly 40 moves to reach the Week 1 roster limit. Here’s the complete rundown of cut players:

Another spot was freed up when the Jets placed corner Austin Bless on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Jets To Sign Stephone Anthony

The Jets are signing linebacker Stephone Anthony, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Anthony was cut by the Falcons on Saturday.

New York has been seeking a replacement for Avery Williamson, who tore his ACL last week. The club signed Albert McClellan on Saturday, and Anthony gives them a higher-upside option.

Anthony, whom the Saints selected in the first round of the 2015 draft, showed some promise with a 112-tackle rookie campaign. He started all 16 games that year for a bottom-tier New Orleans defense, but the team moved him from middle linebacker to strongside linebacker in 2016, and he regressed considerably. The Saints dealt him to the Dolphins in 2017, but the change of scenery didn’t do much for him. Anthony had just seven tackles across 16 appearances last year, and the Dolphins declined his fifth-year option, making him a free agent this offseason.

The Falcons signed him at the end of July, but he did not last a full month on Atlanta’s roster. With the Jets, Anthony will have a chance to compete for playing time alongside free agent acquisition C.J. Mosley, and he will also reunite with Adam Gase, his head coach for two years in Miami, and Joe Vitt, the Saints’ LB coach during Anthony’s first two years in the league.

The Jets cut safety Santos Ramirez in a corresponding move.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Release LB Stephone Anthony

Stephone Anthony‘s return trip to the NFC South proved short. The Falcons announced the former first-round pick’s release on Saturday, his departure making room on the 90-man roster for cornerback Jalen Myrick.

Atlanta added Anthony at the outset of its training camp, but he will now venture back to free agency. This continues a lengthy swoon for 2015’s No. 31 overall selection.

The former Saints draft choice spent one season as a starter and recorded the NFL’s first two-point conversion return, during a 112-tackle 2015 season. But that year was spent on a bottom-tier New Orleans defense, and the Saints opted against keeping him as a starter for long in 2016. Following the 2017 trade to Miami, Anthony still could not gain much of a foothold. Although, he did play in all 16 Dolphins games last season.

A former Jaguars backup in 2017, and a Georgia native, Myrick bounced on and off the Vikings’ practice squad last season. Minnesota waived the former seventh-round pick in April.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons To Sign Stephone Anthony

The Falcons have agreed to sign linebacker Stephone Anthony, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The former Saints first-round pick profiles as a depth option and special teams player for Atlanta.

Anthony seemed to have a great deal of promise when he entered the league in 2015, but he’s been unable to make good on that potential thus far. After starting in all 16 games as a rookie, he was moved from middle linebacker to strongside linebacker with poor results. The Dolphins acquired him for a fifth-round pick in 2017, but the change of scenery didn’t do much for him. Anthony had just seven tackles across 16 appearances last year and the Dolphins declined his fifth-year option, making him a free agent this offseason.

In other Falcons news, the club is optimistic about a new deal for Julio Jones.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Host Josh Bynes, Stephone Anthony

Linebackers Josh Bynes and Stephone Anthony are visiting the Bills today, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Both players profile as high-upside, yet low-risk, depth options. 

The Cardinals released Bynes in March to save just $667K against $1.87MM in dead money. That was a sharp turn from the previous year, when Bynes was being played ahead of both Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick.

Anthony seemed to have a great deal of promise when he entered the league as a first-round pick of the Saints in 2015. But, after starting in all 16 games as a rookie, he was moved from middle linebacker to strongside linebacker with poor results. The Dolphins acquired him for a fifth-round pick in 2017, but the change of scenery didn’t do much for him. Anthony had just seven tackles across 16 appearances last year and the Dolphins declined his fifth-year option, making him a free agent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Bolts, Washington

Paxton Lynch joins the likes of Ameer Abdullah, Breshad Perriman, Stephone Anthony and Mike Gillislee on a roster bubble, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter), and the Broncos may choose to cut ties with their disappointing 2016 first-rounder. Lynch would prefer to stay in Denver, Mike Klis of 9News tweets, despite his rocky tenure there to date. A fresh start might be best for the former Memphis prodigy, but the Broncos may elect to keep him as their No. 3 quarterback. Chad Kelly‘s performance in Denver’s Thursday-night finale could determine Lynch’s fate, with Troy Renck of Denver7 writing that a strong showing from the 2017 seventh-rounder may convince the Broncos he’s ready to be Case Keenum‘s regular-season backup rather than forcing the Broncos to acquire a veteran to serve in that role. That would seemingly free up a roster spot for Lynch as the third-stringer. It would cost the Broncos $4.9MM to cut Lynch. They already absorbed a $5.5MM dead-money hit upon releasing Menelik Watson.

Here’s the latest from the AFC West, shifting to another quarterback battle.

  • The Chargers are likely to keep just two quarterbacks, which makes sense given Philip Rivers‘ historic durability. Los Angeles’ starter has taken first-string snaps in every game since succeeding Drew Brees in 2006. As a result, Yates adds that either Cardale Jones or Geno Smith is a cut candidate. The Bolts, though, aren’t certain which one will be given his walking papers. Smith is a vested veteran and would head into free agency if released, while Jones would be subject to waivers. Neither is attached to a contract worth more than $1MM.
  • Su’a Cravens will make his Broncos debut Thursday night after missing most of August due to a knee injury, Renck notes. The former Redskins safety/linebacker has a clearer path to the Broncos’ roster, despite missing most of training camp, due to Jamal Carter‘s season-ending injury.
  • With UDFA Phillip Lindsay almost certainly having earned his way onto the team as Denver’s No. 3 running back, De’Angelo Henderson has drawn trade interest. Former Broncos tackle Tyler Polumbus, writing for The Athletic (subscription required) believes that would be the best scenario for the second-year player, noting that Denver will likely keep four backs — Devontae Booker, Royce Freeman, Lindsay and fullback Andy Janovich — on its 53-man roster. This would leave both Henderson, who likely wouldn’t pass through waivers, and seventh-round rookie David Williams, who might, off the team.
  • Although he returned a punt for a touchdown in the preseason, Isaiah McKenzie probably won’t make the Broncos, per Polumbus. The diminutive return man has fumbled several kicks in his short Broncos stay, losing another one during preseason play. Lindsay and the recent addition of Adam Jones look to have forced the second-year player off the roster.
  • The Raiders will likely waive DeAndre Washington and allow recent camp pickup Chris Warren to take his place, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com notes. Washington recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and is an IR candidate, per Gutierrez, who has the Raiders keeping four running backs — Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and Warren. Washington and Richard served as backups for Lynch and Latavius Murray the past two years. Washington averaged 5.4 yards per carry as a rookie but struggled last season (2.7 YPC).

Dolphins Rumors: Fales, Osweiler, DBs, LBs

David Fales completed just 1 of 6 passes in the Dolphins’ second preseason game, and although Brock Osweiler is the bigger name, the team’s internal preference is believed to be for the incumbent to back up Ryan Tannehill, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. As for Bryce Petty, he’s still behind both aforementioned backups, Jackson adds. Osweiler signed for the league minimum, making the Dolphins’ 2018 quarterback depth chart much cheaper than last year’s setup of Tannehill, Jay Cutler and Matt Moore — which represented more than $30MM against the 2017 team’s cap. A former sixth-round Bears pick in 2014, Fales has 48 career pass attempts — 43 of those coming last season with Miami.

Here’s the latest out of south Florida.

  • Minkah Fitzpatrick is primarily working as a slot defender for the Dolphins, Roy Cummings of FloridaFootballInsiders.com passes along. The first-round pick out of Alabama was billed as a versatile performer entering the draft, with safety or cornerback potential. It looks like, for now, the Dolphins are taking advantage of that. Previous slot bastion Bobby McCain has moved to the outside, and that looks to have been done to give Fitzpatrick a role. Prior to the move, the Dolphins didn’t have a place for Fitzpatrick, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald writes. Fitzpatrick, though, also played sparingly as a pure safety in Miami’s initial two preseason games.
  • Mike Hull may begin the season on IR, Jackson notes. The Dolphins would carry their fourth-year veteran linebacker onto the 53-man roster before placing him on IR, which would allow him to return during the season once he recovers from the sprained MCL he sustained earlier this month. Hull started three games last season. Raekwon McMillan is Miami’s middle linebacker starter.
  • Second-year UDFA Chase Allen looks to have a job as a Dolphins backup linebacker, but former Saints first-round pick Stephone Anthony may not. Jackson writes the 2015 first-rounder’s put together a poor preseason that has him on the bubble. Anthony played in eight Dolphins games upon being traded to Miami last year. He played 130 defensive snaps but did not stand out. However, with Hull out, the Dolphins need bodies to fill out their linebacking corps. UFA addition Terence Garvin isn’t a lock to survive cutdown weekend, either, Jackson adds.

AFC East Notes: Pats, Decker, Bills, Fins, Jets

The Patriots signed veteran wideout Eric Decker to a one-year deal last week, but New England actually had its eyes on Decker as early as the 2010 draft, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com explains. Decker was “squarely in [the Patriots’] sights” at pick No. 90 in that draft, but the Minnesota product ended up going off the board three picks earlier to the Broncos, who at that time were lead by now-New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. After recording 54 receptions for 563 yards a season ago, Decker has effectively replaced Jordan Matthews as the Patriots’ slot receiver, at least until Julian Edelman returns from suspension. Decker received only $75K in guaranteed money, however, so he’s far from a roster lock in New England.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Bills receiver Zay Jones has been activated off the active/non-football injury list, but was wearing a red contact jersey during his first day back at practice, tweets Joe Buscaglia of WKBW. Jones underwent knee surgery in May and missed Buffalo’s offseason program, but the club has expressed hope that Jones — who was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft — will be ready for the regular season. After an offseason which included not only an operation but a bizarre arrest, the Bills have been adamant that Jones won’t be handed a starting spot. Buffalo’s wideout depth chart is among the worst in the league, though, so it will be surprising if Jones isn’t lining up opposite Kelvin Benjamin as the Bills’ No. 2 pass-catcher.
  • After being traded from the Saints to the Dolphins last season, linebacker Stephone Anthony appears set to open the 2018 campaign as a starting outside linebacker, Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald writes. Anthony has disappointed in four NFL seasons after being chosen as a first-round pick, and the Dolphins subsequently declined his fifth-year option for the 2019 season. That would have paid Anthony nearly $10MM next year, but as Fernandez details, Miami could conceivably extend Anthony if he succeeds this season.
  • Veteran Thomas Rawls is now a legitimate candidate for the Jets‘ third running back job after Elijah McGuire suffered a broken foot, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. McGuire is expected to be sidelined for three-to-six weeks, so Rawls is now competing with Trenton Cannon and George Atkinson for the right to play behind Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell. Rawls, of course, was a revelation in limited duty during the 2015 season, averaging 5.6 yards per carry on 147 rushes. In the years since, however, Rawls has been beset by injuries, and wasn’t tendered as a Seahawks restricted free agent earlier this year.
  • The Jets recently expanded their analytics department by hiring former scout Brian Shields as a senior manager of football research, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. That’s a new role within the New York front office, per Cimini, who indicates general manager Mike Maccagnan is becoming more open to the use of analytics in the NFL.

Dolphins Decline LB Stephone Anthony’s Option

As expected, the Dolphins have declined the fifth-year option for linebacker Stephone Anthony. The additional year would have come at a cost of $9.232MM. 

Anthony seemed to have a great deal of promise when he entered the league as a first-round pick of the Saints in 2015. After starting in all 16 games as a rookie, he was moved from middle linebacker to strongside linebacker with poor results. The Dolphins acquired him for a fifth-round pick last fall, but the change of scenery didn’t do much for him. Anthony had just 15 tackles in eight games last year.

Anthony has solid speed for a player in the 240-pound range, but he has yet to turn his natural gifts into quality play on the field. He is now slated to hit the open market next March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Fins, Anthony, Timmons, Jets

The Dolphins discussed acquiring linebacker Stephone Anthony from the Saints even before the club suspended veteran Lawrence Timmons, head coach Adam Gase told reporters, including Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). That’s not entirely surprising, given that Miami had been short on linebackers even before the Timmons saga began. Rookie Raekwon McMillan, pegged to start at middle linebacker for the Dolphins, tore his ACL before the season began, so adding a former first-round talent such as Anthony for the cost of a fifth-round pick makes some sense.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • While Timmons is suspended indefinitely, it’s not out of the question that he returns to the Dolphins at some point, as Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. Expected to be an integral part of Miami’s defense after agreeing to a two-year contract this spring, Timmons would likely ingratiate himself to teammates with an apology, opines Salguero. “I think every situation is different,” Gase said of Timmons. “And I would say you can be forgiven if the right steps are taken.”
  • Despite a seemingly gaping hole at left guard, the Dolphins did not express interest in Alex Boone after he was released by the Vikings earlier this month, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Instead, Miami is content to rotate Anthony Steen and Jesse Davis on the interior, with Steen handling roughly two-thirds of the club’s offensive snaps. Boone went on to sign a one-year, $1.4MM deal with the Cardinals.
  • New Jets owner Christopher Johnson says his brother — newly sworn-in UK ambassador Woody Johnson — will have no role with the club while serving in his new capacity, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. Meanwhile, Christopher Johnson also indicated New York is “definitely” not tanking, and that general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles won’t be based on wins and losses alone, per Darryl Slater of NJ.com. Instead, the Jets’ decision-makers will be judged on the team’s gradual improvement and development.
  • Based on early-season performance, the Jets‘ decision to part with veterans such as Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, Ryan Clady, and Brandon Marshall has turned out well, opines Brian Costello of the New York Post. Mangold and Revis have yet to land a contract, Clady is retired, and Marshall hasn’t performed through two games with the Giants.