Taybor Pepper

Extra Points: Murray, Njoku, Contracts

Before he was the first overall pick of the Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft, Kyler Murray was the ninth overall pick of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Oakland A’s. Then he went on to win the Heisman Trophy, causing him to rocket up NFL draft boards. Even after winning the Heisman Murray initially was reported to be pursuing baseball over football, but obviously that changed when it became clear just how high he’d be drafted. We haven’t heard a ton about his baseball passions since, but he made it clear he isn’t over the game in interviews this past week. “I would love to” play baseball again one day Murray said on The Pat McAfee Show, via Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic. “I think it’s still there because I’ve been doing it my whole life. It wasn’t like I have to turn this off to be elite at football.”

When asked if he could see himself playing football and baseball at the same time one day soon, Murray said “I hope so. I hope so. I mean, I would love to. I think that would be good for everybody … I think it is tough because I play quarterback.” He also added that walking away from Oakland was “definitely the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.” The Cardinals likely aren’t as enthused about the possibility, and it’s specifically in his contract that he’s not allowed to play baseball. Maybe when it comes time for Murray to get a contract extension from Arizona, he’ll look to negotiate a clause that allows him to try his hand at baseball? It’s certainly fun to think about, and I think every fan would be hoping he can become the next Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders.

Here’s more from around the league as we officially turn our attention toward the offseason:

  • David Njoku had a rocky season with the Browns, even as the team had their most success in decades. The drafting of Harrison Bryant and signing of Austin Hooper reduced his role on offense, and Njoku demanded to be traded this past summer, then changed his mind on that demand, then apparently changed his mind once again and wanted to be traded in October. Obviously Cleveland didn’t want to deal him, and it looked like everything had more or less been worked out, but Njoku fanned the flames again this past week. “That’s a good question,” Njoku said recently on the Jim Rome Show when asked if he’s in the right spot, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “I’m not going to answer that right now. I have no comment towards that at this moment,” Njoku said cryptically. The 29th overall pick of the 2017 draft added that everything would work itself out in the “near future.” Thanks to his fifth-year option the tight end is under contract for 2021 at a hair over $6MM, although that’s not guaranteed. If they choose to keep him at that number, it sounds like another trade request could be in the cards.
  • Reserve/futures deals are non-guaranteed pacts to keep unheralded players a part of a team’s offseason 90-man roster, so they usually don’t come with any bonuses or guaranteed money. When they do, that makes them a lot more notable, and Field Yates of ESPN.com recently tweeted out this cycle’s biggest. Cornerback Grant Haley got $35.7K from the Saints, safety Marqui Christian and cornerback Xavier Crawford got $35K and $31.3K respectively from the Bears, long snapper Dan Godsil got $27.4K from the Bengals, and tight end Tyree Jackson got $25.2K from the Eagles while punter Arryn Siposs got $25K from Philly. All these guys would seem to have a better than normal chance of cracking next year’s 53. Haley saw a lot of run his first two years in the league with the Giants, and was up and down from New Orleans’ practice squad in 2020. If Cincy is giving a reserve/futures long snapper $25K, you’ve gotta figure they think there’s a good chance he’s their guy next year. Jackson is a notable name since he’s the former University of Buffalo star quarterback who has since transitioned to tight end.
  • Speaking of relatively minor contracts, Yates also tweeted the details for the recent extensions for Raiders quarterback Nathan Peterman and 49ers long snapper Taybor Pepper. Peterman got a guaranteed $1MM base salary on his one-year deal, a $25K workout bonus, and a max value of $2.775MM with incentives. Pepper got two-years, $2.08MM with an $80K signing bonus and $220K of his $920K salary for 2021 guaranteed. It’s pretty eyebrow-raising to see Peterman get his $1MM guaranteed considering he’s thrown all of five passes the past two seasons, but Jon Gruden clearly loves the guy. This would suggest he’s got a good shot to hold the clipboard for Derek Carr, or whoever is the Raiders’ starter next year.

49ers, LS Taybor Pepper Agree On Extension

Bigger business resides on the 49ers’ contract docket, but the team took care of a lower-profile player Thursday. The 49ers signed long snapper Taybor Pepper to a two-year extension.

Pepper’s agreement includes $300K guaranteed, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. The four-year veteran snapper was due to be a free agent in March; he is now signed with San Francisco through 2022.

While long snappers can remain in place with teams for many years, often in anonymity, this marks a change of pace for Pepper. He began his career with the Packers in 2017 but only played in four games. He did not play in 2018, but the Dolphins used him as their full-time deep snapper in 2019. They did not bring him back.

Pepper caught on with the 49ers in late September of last year and snapped in the team’s final 12 games. No salary specifics have emerged, but with non-rookie-contract snappers confined to a narrow salary range between $1MM and $1.2MM, Pepper will probably be the latest member of this group.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/28/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here as we barrel toward Week 17:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • Placed on IR: OT Trenton Scott
  • Signed to 53 from practice squad: OT Matt Kaskey

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

San Francisco 49ers

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/30/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Workout Updates: 9/29/20

Here are some of the key developments from the NFL’s workout circuit as of Tuesday:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Dolphins Waive RB Samaje Perine, Three Others

The Dolphins signed a running back (Jordan Howard) and traded for one during the draft (Matt Breida). As a result, they waived Samaje Perine.

Miami waived Perine, long snapper Taybor Pepper, safety Montre Hartage and linebacker Terrill Hanks on Sunday.

Since coming into the league as a fourth-round Redskins pick in 2017, Perine has bounced around. His career started somewhat promisingly, with the Redskins using him frequently as a rookie. The Oklahoma product rushed for 603 yards in 2017. Since, he’s gained only 48 rushing yards.

Perine has spent time with the Bengals and Dolphins since his Redskins departure. He does not have vested-veteran status and will return to the waiver wire.

Pepper worked as the Dolphins’ long snapper throughout last season. However, Miami drafted a snapper — LSU’s Blake Ferguson — in the sixth round on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Cut Vincent Taylor

The Dolphins have released defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, per a team announcement. To take his place, the club signed fellow DT John Jenkins. Meanwhile, the Dolphins also inked long snapper Taybor Pepper, which seals the end of John Denney‘s storied run with the team.

[RELATED: Dolphins Cut John Denney]

Taylor only played in eight games last year as a reserve before a foot injury knocked him out for the second half of the season. But, when he was on the field, he was one of the Dolphins’ most effective interior defensive linemen. Taylor, who tallied 27 tackles and two sacks, will now look for work elsewhere.

The Dolphins cut Denney on Monday afternoon, but there was some speculation that he could be brought back after some roster juggling. That, apparently, won’t be the case. The 40-year-old is out in Miami and a player 15 years his junior is taking his place.

Giants Cut Kyle Lauletta; Reach 53

The Giants waived quarterback Kyle Lauletta as a part of their moves to reach the 53-man roster limit. The move leaves Alex Tanney as the No. 3 QB behind starter Eli Manning and first-round pick Daniel Jones.

Between an October arrest and a poor professional debut, Lauletta dug himself into a bit of a hole. Although the 2018 fourth-round pick is just 24 and had enough upside to merit a mid-round selection, the 31-year-old Tanney edged him out in practice. This, perhaps, isn’t a huge surprise after the G-Men signed him to a two-year, $2.1MM contract with $775K guaranteed.

Besides Lauletta, here’s how the Giants got to the limit.

Released:

Waived/injured:

Waived off the commissioner’s exempt list:

Placed on IR:

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 12/31/18

New Year’s Eve marks the first day eliminated teams can sign players to reserve/futures contracts. Here is the first wave of those decisions:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 12/24/18

Today’s workouts, all courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter):

Cincinnati Bengals:

  • K’s Ty Long (BC CFL), Tristan Vizcaino

Detroit Lions:

Indianapolis Colts:

Kansas City Chiefs:

New York Giants:

  • DEs Tobi Antigha (SASK), Jake Ceresna (EDM); QB Bo Levi Mitchell (CALG); WRs Bryant Mitchell (EDM), Jordan Williams-Lambert (SASK); RB Terry Williams

Philadelphia Eagles:

  • WRs Carlton Agudosi, Marken Michel (CALG), Devin Smith; DB Mercy Maston (EDM); LBs Alex Singleton (CALG), Jameer Thurman (CALG)

Pittsburgh Steelers:

  • QB Max Browne; LB Sam Eguavoen (SASK); DE Avery Ellis (OTT); WR Dominique Rhymes (OTT

Tennessee Titans:

Washington Redskins:

This time of year, a lot of teams are auditioning guys for potential reserve/futures deals to be a part of their 90-man rosters for 2019. It’s also common to see a lot of CFL guys getting looks this time of year, because players participating in the 2018 CFL season aren’t eligible to sign NFL contracts until after the regular season is over.