Taryn Christion

West Notes: 49ers, Hawks, Broncos, Chiefs

Jason Verrett signed a one-year, $3MM deal with the 49ers this offseason, but the ex-Chargers cornerback says he actually contemplated retirement before landing in San Francisco, per SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Verrett, who was in a “dark place” while deciding on his NFL future, has only played in five total games over the past three seasons, with various injuries — including a torn ACL and a ruptured Achilles — ending his campaigns. The 49ers ranked 26th in defensive DVOA against No. 2 wideouts in 2018, so they can use all they help they can get opposite Richard Sherman. Verrett, an excellent corner when healthy, is expected to compete with Ahkello Witherspoon and Tarvarius Moore for the job.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • Fullback Nick Bellore‘s contract with the Seahawks is worth $2.23MM over two years, tweets Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. Bellore will receive $600K guaranteed, including a $300K signing bonus and a $300K 2019 base salary guarantee. A linebacker who played primarily on special teams for the first seven years of his NFL career, Bellore converted to the offensive side of the ball last summer. The 30-year-old appeared in 14 games for the Lions in 2018, playing 118 snaps on offense and 238 on special teams. Seattle used a fullback on only 8% of its plays last season.
  • New Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco will take all the first-team reps at organized team activities, head coach Vic Fangio told reporters, including Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). That’s perhaps unsurprising, as Flacco is fully expected to be Denver’s starter despite the club selecting Missouri’s Drew Lock in the second round. Indeed, Flacco’s performance in early Broncos practices dissuaded general manager John Elway from drafting a signal-caller on Day 1 of the draft. Lock, veteran Kevin Hogan, and undrafted free agent Brett Rypien will compete to become Denver’s second and third quarterback.
  • The Seahawks gave significant signing bonuses to several of their undrafted collegiate free agents, as Henderson tweets. Quarterback Taryn Christion, receiver Terry Wright, and cornerbacks Derrek Thomas and Davante Davis each received a $10K bonus. As Henderson notes, though, that level of guarantee doesn’t necessarily ensure a roster spot. In 2018, Seattle gave receiver Ka’Raun White a $14K bonus but cut him after rookie minicamp. Click on Henderson’s tweet to see the full list of the Seahawks’ UDFA signing bonuses.
  • Free agent offensive tackle Dieugot Joseph is meeting with the Chiefs today, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). An undrafted free agent out of Florida International University in 2017, Joseph has spent time with the Bears, Ravens, Vikings, and Jets but has yet to appear in an NFL game.

More Minor NFL Transactions: 5/13/19

Here’s the latest round of minor moves from around the NFL (for this morning’s minor moves, click here):

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

  • Claimed off waivers: DB Mike Tyson (from Texans)

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

West Notes: Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks

After signing several lower-key free agents last year, the Raiders operated aggressively in March. After adding Antonio Brown, the team signed Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner, Tyrell Williams, Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict. All are in line to start. But the Raiders’ most deficient area was not fully addressed until the draft. Mike Mayock did not view this year’s class of edge rushers as good fits for the Raiders, who then took three defensive ends in the draft. This perhaps affected the Raiders’ ability to sign UDFA defensive ends.

We didn’t think that free agency was going to be the answer for that,” Mayock said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair) of addressing the team’s need for edge help. “I thought we did a really nice job here over the weekend to the extent that we couldn’t even sign any (undrafted) free agent defensive ends because they saw we drafted three. They’re all staying away from us.”

Most thought the Raiders reached at No. 4 to draft Clelin Ferrell, whom one league executive said (via Mike Sando of ESPN.com, ESPN+ link) was slower than an NFL quarterback of average speed. The Raiders also drafted Eastern Michigan’s Maxx Crosby in the fourth round and Prairie View A&M’s Quinton Bell in the seventh. While the Raiders did sign Benson Mayowa in free agency, they may still need assistance at this position after their 2018 pass rush recorded the fewest sacks (13) of any NFL team in 10 seasons.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, continuing with a possible Raiders need area:

  • Jon Gruden said Kolton Miller will stay at left tackle, with Trent Brown lining up on the right side and Brandon Parker now a swing player. Gabe Jackson will remain at right guard, but after the Raiders traded All-Pro Kelechi Osemele for a Day 3 pick, the team has a hole at left guard. Gruden said (via Bair) the team will still monitor outside help at that spot. As of now, 2018 waiver claim Denzelle Good is stationed with the first unit there. While Good made 20 starts with the Colts from 2015-17, the free agent market — which includes Andy Levitre, Stefen Wisniewski, Chance Warmack and Shawn Lauvao, among others — may be able to produce a better starter.
  • The 49ers will proceed cautiously with Nick Bosa. Despite the No. 2 overall pick participating fully at the Combine, the 49ers held him out of team drills at rookie minicamp this week. After Bosa missed most of his junior season at Ohio State due to a core muscle injury, the 49ers plan work him in slowly, a team official told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
  • The first punter went off the board in the fourth round this year, with the 49ers making Mitch Wishnowsky being the highest-drafted punter since the Jaguars took Bryan Anger in the 2012 third round. However, the 49ers did not expect to need a punter, per Maiocco, who notes they viewed 2015 fifth-round pick Bradley Pinion as a player likely to be re-signed. Instead, the Buccaneers swooped in and landed the free agent specialist on a four-year, $11MM deal.
  • It looks like the Seahawks‘ search for backup-quarterback candidates may continue. Paxton Lynch resides on Seattle’s roster, but considering his career thus far, it’s no lock the former first-rounder will be Russell Wilson‘s primary backup. The three players who took part in the Seahawks’ rookie camp this weekend — UDFA Taryn Christion (South Dakota State) and tryout arms Troy Williams (Utah) and Michael O’Connor (University of British Columbia) — did not fare well. “I thought the quarterbacks had a hard time,” Pete Carroll said (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson, on Twitter). “I thought they struggled with the system and play-calling.”

Seahawks Sign 12 UDFAs

The busiest day of 2019 to date for undrafted free agent agreements, Friday also doubled as the Seahawks’ unveiling date for their post-draft rookie contingent. Here is Seattle’s list:

When combined with the Seahawks’ draft class, Ferguson and Wright represent the fourth and fifth rookie wideouts added to the roster. D.K. Metcalf obviously arrives as the highest-profile target, but Seattle also used a fourth-round pick on Wake Forest’s Gary Jennings. Wright averaged 16.7 yards per catch last season, hauling in five touchdowns with the 2018 Boilermakers. Ferguson put up better stats at the Division I-FCS level, becoming the Southland Conferece’s offensive player of the year after a 1,117-yard, 13-touchdown season.

The Seahawks did not use any of their 11 draft choices on cornerbacks, nor did they sign any this offseason. That may increase the Big 12-produced corners’ chances of making the team. However, seven corners already reside on Seattle’s roster.

While Choice was not Clemson’s lead back last season, he was the national champions’ second-leading rusher with 548 yards. En route to seven rushing touchdowns, Choice averaged 7.1 yards per carry. Christion finished as the Jackrabbits’ all-time leader in all notable passing categories. He ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at South Dakota State’s pro day and may have a decent chance to make the Seahawks’ roster. Paxton Lynch represents Seattle’s only backup quarterback option, and Chad Kelly quickly beat him out for the Broncos’ QB2 job last year.