Stephone Anthony

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.

Dolphins Acquire LB Stephone Anthony

The Dolphins have acquired linebacker Stephone Anthony from the Saints, Miami announced today. New Orleans will receive a 2018 fifth-round pick from the Dolphins, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.Stephone Anthony (Vertical)

Veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons was dealt a team suspension earlier today after leaving the Dolphins over the weekend, so the club was on the hunt for help at the second level of its defense. Anthony, who can be controlled through the 2019 season via the fifth-year option, will give Miami reinforcements at linebacker for the remainder of the season and also for the long haul.

Thought to be a candidate for release prior to the regular season, Anthony has been bandied about as a trade candidate for some time. The Saints simply have too many linebackers on their roster, and the club’s starting jobs went to free agent acquisitions Manti Te’o and A.J. Klein and third-round rookie Alex Anzalone. With Craig RobertsonMichael Mauti, and Nathan Stupar also available in reserve, New Orleans had no place for Anthony.

Anthony, 25, was a full-time starter in 2015 after entering the league as a first-round selection out of Clemson. But his playing time dwindled last season, as he started only three games and played on just 133 defensive snaps before a knee injury ended his campaign in December. Anthony, who also played on roughly a quarter of New Orleans’ special teams snaps, managed just 15 tackles after posting 112 stops during his rookie year.

The Dolphins will be on the hook for the remainder of Anthony’s ~$1.1MM base salary (which is fully guaranteed), and will be responsible for a similar, non-guaranteed figure in 2018. Miami will then have until next May to decide on Anthony’s 2019 fifth-year option. The Dolphins won’t need to make a roster move to accommodate Anthony’s arrival, as Timmons no longer counts against the team’s 53-man count.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Stephone Anthony Not A Saints Roster Lock?

Third-year linebacker Stephone Anthony‘s place on the Saints’ roster “appears to be in jeopardy,” according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.Stephone Anthony (Vertical)

Anthony, 25, was a full-time starter in 2015 after entering the league as a first-round selection out of Clemson. But his playing time dwindled last season, as he started only three games and played on just 133 defensive snaps before a knee injury ended his campaign in December. Anthony, who also played on roughly a quarter of New Orleans’ special teams snaps, managed just 15 tackles after posting 112 stops during his rookie year.

The Saints simply have too many linebackers on their roster, and Anthony doesn’t project as a starter, per Triplett. Instead, those starting jobs are expected to go to free agent acquisitions Manti Te’o and A.J. Klein and third-round rookie Alex Anzalone. With Craig Robertson, Michael Mauti, and Nathan Stupar also available in reserve, New Orleans has no place for Anthony.

Anthony is signed through the 2018 season, and the Saints wouldn’t realize any cap savings if they trade or waive him. In fact, Anthony will count for the same total — roughly $2.1MM — whether he’s on the New Orleans roster or not.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Saints, Fins, Cowboys, Ravens

The Saints have too many linebackers and not enough spots, which could lead to the ouster of either Manti Te’o or Stephone Anthony, writes Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. Te’o hasn’t even played a down yet for the Saints, who signed him in May, but his two-year, $5MM deal includes just $600K in guarantees. With that in mind, the former Charger will be easy to jettison if he doesn’t impress Saints coaches in the coming weeks. Anthony’s contract, on the other hand, isn’t so team friendly. Cutting him wouldn’t save the Saints any money this year, yet it would leave them with $2.1MM-plus in dead money. While the 24-year-old was a first-round pick of the Saints not long ago, in 2015, he’s coming off a subpar second season that ended after 10 games on account of a knee injury.

More from around the NFL:

  • As of late June, the expectation was that Dolphins center Mike Pouncey would be ready for Week 1. That remains the case, it seems, as Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that Pouncey hasn’t had any setbacks during his recovery from the hip injury that kept him out of 11 games last year. As a result, both Pouncey and the Dolphins are “confident” a forthcoming hip exam will yield positive results. Still, for precautionary reasons, the Dolphins will limit Pouncey in practice throughout the year in hopes of having him for all 16 regular-season games (and potential playoff contests), relays Salguero.
  • Cowboys defensive end David Irving was a no-show for the team’s first day of camp on Friday, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com. It’s unclear why Irving was absent, but he’s now subject to a $40K fine for missing reporting day. Irving’s already set to serve a four-game suspension for a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
  • With training camp approaching, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun projects the Ravens’ season-opening roster. Veterans whose roster spots are in danger include tight end Maxx Williams, fullback Lorenzo Taliaferro, defensive ends Brent Urban and Za’Darius Smith, and cornerback Brandon Boykin, writes Zrebiec. Urban is the only member of the group who appeared in every Ravens game last season, when he picked up two sacks on 150 snaps. Smith, a participant in over 47 percent of Baltimore’s defensive snaps and a starter in 13 appearances, played the biggest role of the five in 2016. But Smith only made a marginal impact statistically (20 tackles, sack, forced fumble), and his performance ranked a less-than-stellar 92nd among Pro Football Focus’ 106 qualified edge defenders.
  • Bears center Hroniss Grasu missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in August, and now it’s up in the air whether he’ll play another down for the team, suggests JJ Stankevitz of CSN Chicago. Grasu’s old starting job now belongs to Cody Whitehair, who more than held his own as a rookie after shifting from guard to center in the wake of Grasu’s injury. So, if the Bears only keep eight offensive lineman this year, it may lead to Grasu’s demise. The 25-year-old was a third-round pick in 2015, when he started in all of his appearances, though a neck injury limited him to eight games that season.

NFC Notes: Saints, Cards, Seahawks, Packers

With just one year and $3.5MM guaranteed on his Saints contract, Adrian Peterson is far removed from those lavish salaries he collected in his final years with the Vikings. However, the relocated running back can collect some additional cash via incentives — some of which being attached to reasonable figures. The future Hall of Fame back has $2.75MM in incentives tied to various milestones in each of the next two years, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets. The 32-year-old running back can collect incentive cash by rushing for 750 yards, scoring at least six touchdowns, or the Saints making the playoffs. Volin doesn’t specify how much each milestone would pay out, but these aren’t outrageous numbers. Peterson scored at least 10 touchdowns in all eight of his seasons that didn’t involve a major September setback. However, with Mark Ingram in the picture, there won’t be as many TD opportunities. Ingram has scored 25 touchdowns over the past three seasons.

Additionally, Volin notes a $750K roster bonus will be tied to Peterson’s 2018 New Orleans employment. That’s rather light compared to the massive $18MM option that was tied to the 2017 season on Peterson’s Vikings contract. But a Saints return in what would be Peterson’s age-33 season in ’18 likely hinges on the running back’s health.

Here’s the latest out of the NFC.

  • The Cardinals are following through with their idea to flip their starting tackles. Jared Veldheer will move to right tackle, while third-year man D.J. Humphries‘ future will be on the left side. Veldheer initially voiced opposition to the move, one broached by OC Harold Goodwin, immediately after the 2016 season concluded, Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com notes. But the career left tackle is on board now. Humphries played left tackle at Florida and parlayed that performance into a first-round Cardinals draft selection in 2015.
  • Packers rookie linebacker Vince Biegel broke his foot, and the ensuing surgery leaves him questionable to be ready by the start of training camp, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter and Rob Demovsky report. The intent of this operation, done last week, was to repair a Jones fracture that also plagued him last season at Wisconsin, Demovsky writes. The latest in a slew of mid-round Packers ‘backer picks, hasn’t had a smooth transition into the NFL. A hand injury briefly sidelined him at rookie camp last weekend.
  • Speaking of positioning, the Saints sound like they might be willing to try Stephone Anthony at middle linebacker again. The Saints moved their underwhelming 2015 first-rounder to the strong side last year, but new linebackers coach Mike Nolan said middle ‘backer suits Anthony best, Herbie Teope of NOLA.com notes. Anthony led the Saints in tackles as a rookie but was moved outside and then benched in 2016. And New Orleans added inside linebackers in Manti Te’o and A.J. Klein this offseason, complicating Anthony’s path back to playing time.
  • The Seahawks used a sixth-round pick on Cincinnati safety Mike Tyson, but those rooting for the menacingly named defender to double as a hard-hitting back-line option in the Legion of Boom may be disappointed. Tyson was practicing at cornerback during the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp, according to Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. Although, the 6-foot-2 defensive back drew a Byron Maxwell comparison from Pete Carroll, so that’s a good start for a player who might be changing positions.
  • The Lions‘ second-round Teez Tabor investment came after GM Bob Quinn watched more film on the Florida corner than he has on any prospect during his 15-year evaluation career, Nate Atkins of MLive.com notes. The second-year Detroit GM estimated he watched about 14 Gators games with the primary purpose to see if Tabor played faster than his 4.62-second 40-yard dash clocking.

Saints Place Stephone Anthony On IR

The Saints have placed linebacker Stephone Anthony on injured reserve with a knee injury. The move will create a spot for wide receiver Corey Fuller, who was promoted from the practice squad on MondayStephone Anthony (vertical)

[RELATED: Saints Could Look To Trade Sean Payton]

Anthony was widely graded as a second round talent in 2015, but the Saints took him late in the first round after he impressed in workouts. Unfortunately, he hasn’t rewarded the Saints’ faith in him over the last two years. This year, the Saints hoped to jumpstart Anthony by moving him from middle linebacker to strongside, but he didn’t do much in his limited time on the field. He recently had an opportunity for playing time when was hurt, but he was unable to capitalize as Sean Payton chastised him for his issues with playbook retention.

At 6-8, the Saints are not technically out of the playoff picture, but they have less than a 1% chance of making the postseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.