It’s been a busy few days for Grant and Jones, as the two wideouts worked out for the Vikings on Friday. The 28-year-old Grant caught four passes for just 14 yards with Oakland this season, although he did snag 35 passes for 334 yards with the Colts in 2018. Jones has 67 career receptions in 45 games, and he also has some experience returning kicks and punts. He had three receptions for 38 yards and one score in three games with the Giants this season.
Vanderdoes, a 2017 third-round pick by the Raiders, had a solid rookie season, compiling 18 tackles in 16 games (13 starts). He tore his ACL at the end of that season, and he wasn’t activated from the PUP during the 2018 campaign. Vanderdoes landed on IR following this year’s preseason, and he was cut by the organization earlier this week.
Thomas, 24, appeared in five games as a rookie for the Vikings last season, compiling 51 total yards on offense. Jackson was an undrafted free agent out of Buffalo in this past year’s draft. He spent the preseason with the Bills.
While the Vikings reportedly won’t be trading any of their receiver depth, that didn’t stop the coaching staff from auditioning some wideouts yesterday. ESPN’s Courtney Cronin reports (via Twitter) that Minnesota worked out several wide receivers on Friday, including BennieFowler, T.J. Jones, and RyanGrant.
The Giants let go of both Fowler and Jones earlier this week after the duo had combined for only 15 receptions through four games. Most of those catches came via the 28-year-old Fowler, who had spent the past year-plus with the Giants. This is the first reported workout for Fowler. Jones, 27, was a sixth-round pick by the Lions back in 2014. After being cut by the Giants at the end of the preseason, he re-signed with the team in mid-September. Jones has 67 career receptions in 45 games, and he also has some experience returning kicks and punts.
The Raiders released Grant in late September, and he’s since had one workout with the Patriots. The 28-year-old caught four passes for just 14 yards with Oakland this season, although he did snag 35 passes for 334 yards with the Colts in 2018.
This week’s drama out of Minnesota was focused on receiver StefonDiggs, who is reportedly at odds with the organization. While Minnesota reportedly doesn’t have any plans to trade the star wideout, Diggs said the other day that there was “truth to all rumors.” Diggs might not be the only frustrated wide receiver in Minnesota; Adam Thielen recently complained about the one-dimensional nature of the Vikings offense, prompting quarterback Kirk Cousins to apologize.
Tate inked a four-year, $37MM deal with the Giants this offseason as they moved on from superstar Odell Beckham Jr. The hope for GM Dave Gettleman & Co. is that Tate will provide the Giants with the locker room stability and veteran guidance that they were perhaps not getting from OBJ, even though Tate cannot realistically match his production.
When Tate joined up with the Giants, he probably assumed that he would be catching passes from Eli Manning. Instead, Manning has been given the hook in favor of No. 6 overall pick Daniel Jones. If they can sync up on Sunday, and if the Giants’ defense can handle the Vikings as well as the Bears just did, the G-Men could advance to 3-2 behind a three-game winning streak.
September 11th, 2019 at 4:55pm CST by Sam Robinson
Sterling Shepard is uncertain for Sunday’s Week 2 Giants-Bills game, so Big Blue is turning back to recently released receiver. The Giants brought back T.J. Jones on Wednesday.
Jones was with the Giants during the preseason but did not make their 53-man roster. In moving him to the roster now, the Giants placed outside linebacker Kareem Martin on IR.
While Jones has experience as a receiver and return man from his Lions run, the Giants may need him as a pass catcher Sunday. Shepard is in concussion protocol and did not participate in Wednesday’s practice, and Golden Tate‘s suspension runs three more games. The Giants are down to former Broncos backups-turned-second-year Giants Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler, along with fellow Year 2 Giant Russell Shepard.
Playing behind Tate and Marvin Jones in 2017, T.J. Jones established career highs in receptions (30) and yards (399). T.J. Jones caught 19 passes for 190 yards in 15 games last season.
The Giants signed Martin to a three-year, $15MM deal in 2018. One of James Bettcher‘s former Cardinals charges, Martin suffered a knee injury Sunday that Pat Shurmur indicated (via Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com, on Twitter) would take weeks to heal. The sixth-year pass rusher has notched just 1.5 sacks in 17 Big Blue games. Martin will be eligible to return after eight weeks.
In the wake of Golden Tate’s four-game suspension and Corey Coleman’s season-ending injury, the Giants have added reinforcements. On Saturday, they signed fifth-year wide receiver T.J. Jones and former practice squad player Amba Etta-Tawo, per a team announcement.
Jones, 27, had 64 total catches for 814 yards and four touchdowns in his first four NFL seasons with the Lions. Etta-Tawo, 25, spent some time on the Giants’ practice squad and played for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football League.
To make room, the Giants formally placed wideout Coleman on injured reserve and waived kicker Joey Slye in corresponding moves to free space.
Mike McCarthy‘s enjoyed the benefit of coaching two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, and the Packers have qualified for nine playoff brackets in the coach’s 12 previous seasons. But with the team in danger of missing the NFC bracket for the second straight season, McCarthy appears to be firmly on the hot seat. The 13th-year Green Bay coach’s job status is “pretty clearly” uncertain regarding 2019, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). McCarthy signed a one-year extension to take him through the ’19 season, so the team isn’t committed long-term here. He’s now reporting to team president Mark Murphy under the post-Ted Thompson power structure, and with Brian Gutekunst now GM, different voices will have a say if McCarthy will be brought back.
“That’s the job. That’s the way this business has gone,” McCarthy said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, when asked about his status. “I’m not going to get into comparables, but at the end of the day that’s part of the job responsibility of the head coach. We set a standard here the past 12 years and it’s our responsibility to play to that standard.”
The Packers are venturing near must-win territory if they want to secure their ninth playoff berth in 10 seasons. They face the Vikings in Minnesota next week.
T.J. Lang‘s Lions tenure hasn’t gone as smoothly from a health standpoint. The former Pro Bowl guard landed on IR this week because of a neck injury, but that setback is not believed to be career-threatening, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports. Lang also suffered a concussion that forced him to miss time earlier this season. He only played in six games this season after missing three in 2017. Set for his age-32 season next year, Lang — with an $11.1MM cap number — will be a release candidate in the offseason. The Lions could save more than $8MM by releasing the acclaimed blocker. Lang is due a $500K roster bonus on the fourth day of the upcoming league year.
Darius Slay, however, will be back for the Lions after missing Week 10. Bears wideout Allen Robinson gouged the Lions in Slay’s absence, but the All-Pro cornerback was not on the injury report as of Friday and will return Sunday.
While the 2018 Jaguars haven’t been the kind of impediment the 2017 version was, the Steelers will be without a key starter in their attempt to beat a team that went 2-0 against them last season. Stephon Tuitt will miss Sunday’s game with an elbow injury he sustained against the Panthers. Tyson Alualu will start in Tuitt’s place up front, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets.
Some more clarity regarding Tyler Eifert‘s incentive-ladenBengals contract emerged. The tight end’s deal contains some interesting benchmarks for financial rewards, ones that would seemingly be within reach should Eifert stay healthy. The sixth-year tight end has $3MM in possible performance incentives included in his one-year agreement. Additionally, $62.5K will come Eifert’s way for every game he plays.
As for the performance thresholds, Eifert will collect $250K for catching 50 passes in 2018. The former first-round pick getting to 55 receptions would bring another $250K his way, with the 60- and 65-catch barriers representing $250K triggers as well. Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports these catch incentives max out at $1MM, adding the yardage bonuses do as well. The 500-yard mark represents the first $250K trigger, with the next $250K bonus benchmarks coming at 550, 600 and 650 yards, per Owczarski. As for touchdown receptions, Eifert snaring five would bring him $250K. Each additional touchdown would bring him $250K apiece as well, and this incentive category also maxes out at $1MM.
Eifert scored a tight ends-best 13 TDs in 2015 but only has five since. He only exceeded 500 yards once (in ’15, with 615 yards) and caught a career-high 52 passes that year. He didn’t come close to 50 catches in a season in any other year, so describing these as “likely to be earned” incentives is pushing it.
Here’s the latest from some North-division franchises, continuing with news from the Cincinnati offensive front:
Cedric Ogbuehi may be shuttled back to right tackle, a position at which he previously said he wasn’t comfortable. The former first-round pick will compete with both Cordy Glenn and Jake Fisher for the starting tackle jobs, per Marvin Lewis (via Owczarski), but the 16th-year coach said the team expects Glenn to start on the left side. Ogbuehi has started 25 games over the past two years but has dealt with injuries in both, and each season involved him being in a rotation rather than being a full-time player throughout each campaign. Owczarski notes it’s unlikely the Bengals pick up his fifth-year option, which is expected to be for nearly $10MM.
Speaking of northern line movement, the Lions plan to try Graham Glasgow at center instead of guard, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports. Wesley Johnson could be set for a backup job. Birkett writes free agent Kenny Wiggins and 2016 fifth-rounder Joe Dahl will compete for at the guard spot opposite T.J. Lang. Wiggins started 16 games for the Chargers at right guard last season. However, Glasgow — who rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 20 guard last season — may stay at guard if the Lions deem Johnson solid enough to start at center. Johnson is only making $880K this season, which would gibe with backup status.
Both Ziggy Ansah and wideout T.J. Jones underwent offseason surgeries, per Birkett, who describes Ansah’s as a “minor cleanup” on his knee. Jones had a shoulder operation. Birkett adds Kerry Hyder‘s return goal is training camp. The defensive lineman tore his Achilles’ tendon last season.
Ansah remains in Ghana for family reasons, but Justin Rogers of the Detroit News tweets the franchise-tagged defensive end has kept Matt Patricia and the organization in the loop and is expected to return to the team shortly. Birkett writes Ansah could sign his franchise tender as early as the spring rather than having this drag into July. The Lions are not expected to pursue a long-term extension with their top pass rusher at this point.
The Packers shook up their offensive coaching staff this offseason, and it sounds like their playbook will reflect that. While refusing to divulge specifics, Mike McCarthy said recently (via Pete Daugherty of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) the team will “go back to Page 1” of the playbook. Joe Philbin, Jim Hostler and Frank Cignetti are now key offensive assistants, so their input may well be reflected in these changes.