Tharold Simon

North Rumors: Bengals, Lamar, Lions, Bears

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson met with the Bengals on Monday, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. While the Bengals haven’t attempted to upgrade on incumbent signal-caller Andy Dalton in recent years, Jackson could potentially be available when the club picks at No. 21 in the first round. But as Dehner notes, Cincinnati might also be planning for other outcomes, such as a Jackson draft-day fall or a trade with another team. It’s conceivably the Bengals simply want to appear interested in quarterback prospects in an effort to goad a club into moving up. Currently, Cincinnati has free agent Matt Barkley and Jeff Driskel behind Dalton on its depth chart.

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

  • The Lions have hosted Boston College edge rusher Harold Landry, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Detroit has added several interior defensive lineman so far this offseason, but the team has yet to address its pass-rushing need. Landry could help in that regard, but there’s no guarantee he’ll still be on the board at pick No. 20. For what it’s worth, Landry played under now-Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni at BC. Landry, who posted 48 sacks during his collegiate career, would not only give Detroit immediate help on the edge, but allow the Lions to hedge against a potential 2019 loss of franchise-tagged defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.
  • Darqueze Dennard finally lived up to his first-round billing in 2017, and the Bengals are now open to extending his contract, as Dehner writes in a separate piece. Under contract for one more season thanks to his fifth-year option, Dennard will earn $8.526MM in 2018 before hitting free agency next spring. The No. 24 overall selection in the 2014 draft, Dennard played 899 defensive snaps a season ago (nearly triple his previous career-high) and graded as the NFL’s 30th-best corner, per Pro Football Focus. Cincinnati is already heavily extended at cornerback, as it re-signed Dre Kirkpatrick and draft William Jackson III in 2016, but the club has always been willing to pay for secondary help.
  • The Bears will work out veteran defensive back Tharold Simon at their minicamp this week, tweets Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Simon, 27, didn’t see the field last season after inking a futures deal with the Redskins, as he was cut in May. A subsequent tryout with the Saints didn’t result in a contract, and Simon never generated any other known interest. However, Simon was a key contributor for the Seahawks in 2014, and as Bigg notes, has the type of size 6’2″, 200 pounds) that Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio covets. Wide receiver Marlon Brown and linebacker Ryan Delaire, each of whom boasts NFL experience, are also auditioning for the Bears, per Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link).

Saints To Work Out CB Tharold Simon

The Saints are scheduled to work out veteran defensive back Tharold Simon on Friday, reports Nick Underhill of the Advocate (Twitter link).Tharold Simon (vertical)

Simon, 26, was once a five-game starter with Seattle’s Legion of Boom back in 2014, but he’s mostly been a bit part over the past two seasons. The former fifth-round draft selection played in just one contest with the Seahawks during the 2015 campaign, and then saw only 143 totals snaps with the Cardinals a season ago. Nearly half of those snaps were on special teams, which would be Simon’s area of focus with the Saints.

New Orleans was extremely poor on special teams in 2016 (27th in DVOA), and have since replaced their special teams coordinator, hiring Brad Banta to replace Greg McMahon. Per Football Outsiders, the Saints’ was particularly lacking on kick returns, as the club lost eight points of field position on such plays (30th in the NFL).

Of course, given New Orleans’ woes in the secondary, there’s always a chance Simon could earn playing time as a cornerback. First-round pick Marshon Lattimore and veterans Delvin Breaux and Sterling Moore are the only New Orleans corners with any sort of roster hold, so if injuries were to strike, Simon’s (admittedly limited) starting experience may appear comforting to defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Cut CB Tharold Simon

The Redskins announced that they have released cornerback Tharold Simon. In related news, the team signed tight end Manasseh Garner and undrafted free agent cornerback Tevin Homer. The Redskins also waived linebacker Khairi Fortt and tight end Wes SaxtonTharold Simon (vertical)

Simon, 26, first made a name for himself as a rookie in 2014 with the Seahawks. In that season, he saw time in ten games and even made five starts. However, he was limited to just one game in 2015 and his 2016 deal with the Cardinals did not work out as planned. Last year, Simon appeared in nine games with Arizona but barely made a dent on the stat sheet with just five tackles.

The Redskins beefed up the secondary through the draft this year by selecting cornerback Fabian Moreau (third round), safety Montae Nicholson (fourth round), safety Josh Harvey-Clemons (seventh round), and safety Joshua Holsey (seventh round).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/16/17

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2017 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters.

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Extra Points: Panthers, Ravens, Saints, Pats

Unlike former teammate Josh Norman, Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short won’t have any problem signing the franchise tender if the team tags him, he told the Associated Press. “I wouldn’t fight it or anything,” said Short, who was unable to reach a long-term deal with the Panthers last offseason. On Norman, whom Carolina let go last April after he wouldn’t sign the tender, Short commented, “Me and Josh are not the same. … He could have stayed here if he wanted to. He could have (signed) the franchise tag.” The durable Short just wrapped up his fourth straight 16-game season, one in which the 27-year-old ranked as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-best interior defender and totaled six sacks. Placing the franchise tag on Short should cost Carolina approximately $13.468MM in 2017.

More from around the NFL:

  • It appears soon-to-be free agent wide receiver Kamar Aiken‘s third season with the Ravens will go down as his last. “Probably, it’s been the most frustrating year I’ve ever had since I’ve been in the league,” Aiken said of 2016 (via Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun). “I would say I was proud of how I handled it.” Aiken was a key piece in the Ravens’ 2015 offense with 127 targets, 75 catches, 944 yards and five touchdowns, but his numbers dropped precipitously this season. In 16 games and six starts (eight fewer than he logged the prior year), Aiken accumulated 50 targets, 29 receptions, 328 yards and only one score. He spoke to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg during the season about an expanded role, but nothing came of it. Mornhinweg will return to the Ravens next season, which seemingly increases the likelihood of an Aiken departure. The 27-year-old revealed that he’s “looking forward to” hitting the open market.
  • Defensive tackle Nick Fairley took a cheap deal with the Saints last July and proved to be a steal in 2016, starting in all 16 of their games and amassing 43 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Fairley is now facing free agency for the third straight offseason, but he’d rather stay with the Saints than test the market. “I think I played my most consistent ball this year. I just feel like it’s the right fit for me,” Fairley told Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. The 28-year-old Fairley, a former Lion and Ram, finished as PFF’s 33rd-ranked interior defender this season.
  • As is the case with Fairley, cornerback Sterling Moore was an effective buy-low defender with the Saints this season. Now, like Fairley, Moore wants to re-sign with the club, he informed Herbie Teope of NOLA.com. “I see myself growing with these guys and just doing something special, so I don’t look at myself necessarily as a free agent even though my contract is coming to an end. I have full intentions on coming back,” said Moore, who made $760K in 2016. The early September signing set career highs in starts (12), tackles (56) and interceptions (two), and PFF rated him 67th among 120 qualified corners.
  • The Patriots worked out a pair of free agents – tight end Rob Housler and cornerback Tharold Simon – on Tuesday, tweets Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. New England didn’t sign either, but the team could keep the veterans in mind as emergency options in the playoffs or circle back to them in the offseason, notes Reiss.

AFC Notes: Jags, Pats, Browns, Jets, Chiefs

Thanks to the now-fired Gus Bradley‘s disastrous stint as a first-time head coach, the Jaguars are unlikely to hire a replacement who doesn’t bring prior experience, league sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. That makes it all the more probable the team will tab a previously reported candidate like Tom Coughlin, who interviewed Wednesday, interim head coach Doug Marrone or ex-Falcons head coach and current Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Steelers O-coordinator Todd Haley have also been head coaches, but it’s unlikely either will end up a match for Jacksonville, per Mortensen.

More from the AFC:

  • Patriots receiver Michael Floyd could face a mandatory 180 days in jail, not the previously reported 45, for his Dec. 12 arrest in Arizona on a Super Extreme DUI charge, report Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Whether the harsher punishment will enter the fray will come down to whether the courts in Arizona regard this as a second offense for Floyd, who has a prior DUI arrest under his belt from his time at Notre Dame. If Floyd gets 180 days, it could put his availability for next season in jeopardy. The impending free agent is currently slated for a pretrial hearing on Feb. 24, just two weeks before he’s scheduled to hit the open market.
  • With the first pick in next year’s draft in their sights, Browns executive vice president Sashi Brown and vice president Andrew Berry attended Friday’s Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, to scout North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, writes Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. Brown and Berry were previously on hand Wednesday at the Houston Bowl to observe Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, another potential No. 1 overall pick. Trubisky, a junior, hasn’t yet declared for the draft, but the Ohio native is expected to forgo his senior season in favor of the pros. The Browns reportedly “love” the 22-year-old.
  • The Jets brought free agent cornerback Chris Culliver in for a Friday visit – but not a workout – tweets Courtney Fallon of NFL Network. Meanwhile, fellow corner Tharold Simon worked out for Gang Green, relays ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). Culliver, whom the Dolphins released Nov. 19, didn’t play a game this year after a torn ACL limited him to just six contests as a member of the Redskins last season. Simon appeared in nine games with the Cardinals earlier this season, but the ex-Seahawk barely made a dent on the stat sheet (five tackles).
  • The Chiefs tried out free agent defensive backs Elijah Shumate and Jeff Richards on Friday, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle and Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (Twitter links). Neither has appeared in an NFL game.

Workout Updates: Seahawks, Patriots, Ravens

The Seahawks, with a below-average rushing attack and Thomas Rawls nursing a shoulder injury, worked out five free agent running backs Tuesday, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Stevan Ridley, Jonas Gray, Dan Herron, LaMichael James and Dominique Williams all auditioned for the club. The most established member of the group is Ridley, who has been available since Atlanta released him Nov. 23. The 27-year-old has just one appearance and three carries to his name this season and has seen his playing time sharply decline since a 1,263-yard campaign with New England in 2012. Gray, also an ex-Pat, has made little impact since averaging 4.6 yards per attempt on 89 carries in 2014, his rookie year. He hasn’t found an employer since the Jaguars waived him Aug. 17.

Along with those rushers, defensive back L.J. McCray visited the Seahawks, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. The Seahawks agreed to acquire McCray from the 49ers back in early September, but the deal fell through after he failed his physical. San Francisco then cut McCray, who hasn’t landed anywhere since.

More workouts from Tuesday:

  • The Patriots auditioned linebacker Arthur Brown, according to Doug Kyed of NESN (Twitter link). Both the Jaguars and Jets have cut Brown this month. He entered the league in 2013 as Baltimore’s second-round pick.
  • Cornerbacks Tharold Simon and Steve Williams tried out for the Ravens, per ESPN’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). Simon made nine appearances earlier this season with the Cardinals, who cut him last week. He’s better known for his 11-appearance, five-start tenure with Seattle from 2014-15. Williams, meanwhile, moved on and off the Rams’ roster multiple times this year. He has totaled six appearances this season (five with San Diego) after playing in 14 games with the Chargers and intercepting two passes last year.
  • The Falcons worked out three tight ends – Orson Charles, Darion Griswold and Joel Ruiz – and defensive end Martin Ifedi, reports Howard Balzer of BalzerFootball.com (Twitter link). Griswold and Ifedi ended up signing with their practice squad.
  • The Dolphins also took a look at the aforementioned Tharold Simon, who joined fellow corner Demetrius McCray and two tight ends – Gabe Hughes and Chris Pantaletweets Caplan.
  • Tight end Rob Housler showcased himself to the Colts, relays Caplan (Twitter link). The five-year veteran has 109 catches, nearly all of which (105) came with Arizona from 2011-14.
  • The Eagles auditioned wide receiver Greg Ellingson, cornerback Tay Glover-Wright and Canadian Football League punter Richie Leone, according to Caplan (Twitter links).
  • Defensive ends Rufus Johnson and Rakim Cox worked out for the Lions (Twitter links via Caplan and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Linebackers Deon Lacey and Glenn Love tried out for the Cardinals, per Balzer (Twitter link).

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/19/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The 49ers announced that they’ve claimed linebacker Carl Bradford off waivers from the Packers. San Francisco placed LB Nick Bellore on injured reserve earlier today, so Bradford, who’s appeared in four games for Green Bay this season, will add depth in the Bay Area as the Niners close out the 2016 campaign. San Francisco also announced that it has signed veteran tight end Jim Dray, who began the season with Buffalo.
  • The Jets have signed linebacker Randell Johnson from the Rams‘ practice squad to their 53-man roster, clearing a roster spot by waiving fellow LB Arthur Brown, the club announced today. Brown, a former second-round pick, has now been cut for the third time this calendar year.
  • The Cardinals announced that they’ve promoted 2016 sixth-round cornerback Harlan Miller. In a related move, Arizona waived CB Tharold Simon. Simon had been claimed off waivers earlier this year, but managed only 76 snaps with the Cards.
  • The Dolphins signed linebacker Trevor Reilly off the Patriots‘ practice squad and waived fellow LB Zach Vigil, per a club announcement. Vigil, a undrafted rookie, spent the first portion of this season on the NFI list.
  • The Saints have signed wide receiver Corey Fuller off the Lions‘ practice squad, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Fuller appeared in 28 games with Detroit from 2014-15.
  • The Rams are promoting defensive back Isaiah Johnson to the active roster, reports Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. Johnson had been signed to Los Angeles’ 53-man earlier this season, as well. Johnson takes the roster spot of DB Marqui Christian, who is going to IR, per Gonzalez (link).
  • The Giants will promote defensive lineman Ishaq Williams to the active roster, according to Dan Duggan of NJ.com.

Cardinals Claim CB Tharold Simon

The Cardinals claimed cornerback Tharold Simon off waivers from the Seahawks, according to a source who spoke with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (via Twitter). Simon was waived by Seattle on Tuesday. "<strong

Simon, 25, has just eleven NFL games to his credit and he did not see action in the Seahawks’ season opener against the Dolphins. Though he only has ten career tackles, the Cardinals’ scouts believe that he can provide some depth for their secondary. Simon got a decent amount of burn in 2014 and also saw action in the postseason. In 2015, however, Simon suffered a painful dislocated toe injury that cost him the majority of the season. Simon has not been on the field for a regular season game in roughly one year.

In Arizona, Simon will join the team that knocked Seattle from the top of the NFC West last year. Going forward, Simon will try to make an impact as part of a cornerback group headed by superstar Patrick Peterson, Brandon Williams, Justin Bethel and Tyvon Branch.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Swap Cornerbacks, Fullbacks

The Seahawks have made several roster moves this afternoon, replacing a cornerback and fullback with free agents. Dov Kleiman tweets that the team has waived cornerback Tharold Simon and fullback Taniela Tupou. Bob Condotta of The Seattle Neiko Thorpe (vertical)Times tweets that the team will be signing fullback Will Tukuafu to take Tupuo’s place, while Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets that the Seahawks have signed Neiko Thorpe to take Simon’s place.

Tupou was a feel-good story coming out of the preseason. The 23-year-old made the Seahawks’ roster after making the switch from defensive tackle to fullback. The undrafted rookie out of Washington played only seven snaps in Sunday’s win over the Dolphins. The Seahawks ultimately decided to side with the veteran Tukuafu over the rookie. The 32-year-old played in a career high 14 games for Seattle in 2015. The veteran, who also previously played defensive tackle, has made 43 appearances over six NFL seasons.

Simon, a fifth-round pick in 2013, only has 10 tackles in 11 NFL games. The 25-year-old didn’t see the field during Sunday’s game. Replacing him will be Thorpe, who spent time this past summer with the Colts. The 26-year-old appeared in 14 games for the Raiders last season, compiling 40 tackles, six passes defended, and one interception.