Theo Riddick

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/3/20

Here is Saturday’s bevy of minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

This Date In Transactions History: Lions Extend Theo Riddick

On this date in 2016, the Lions finalized a three-year, $12.75MM deal with running back Theo Riddick. At the time, the deal positioned Riddick as one of the higher-paid tailbacks in the NFL. Today, the deal serves as a reminder of how quickly things can change in football. 

[RELATED: Lions Sign Adrian Peterson]

Riddick, who had just turned 25, was coming off of a breakout year. He hauled in 80 passes – the most of any running back in 2015 – for 697 yards and three touchdowns. The Lions didn’t want to let the dual-threat RB get anywhere near free agency, so they locked him up through 2019. With Riddick and the speedy Ameer Abdullah in the fold, the Lions figured that they were well-set in the backfield.

Riddick kicked off his new deal with 728 all-purpose yards in ten games and set a new career-high with 3.9 yards per tote. And, naturally, he showed his soft hands with 53 grabs. Then, a wrist injury halted his season in November. Riddick returned in 2017, and stayed healthy, but the Lions’ ground game was lacking. In 2018, rookie Kerryon Johnson emerged as a total game-changer, and that changed the course of Riddick’s career. After Riddick logged just 40 carries, the Lions no longer felt that he was worth his contract. In July of 2019, they dropped the 27-year-old to save less than $4MM against the salary cap.

Today, Riddick finds himself on the fringe. After missing the Raiders’ final cut, he’s waiting for his next opportunity on Jon Gruden‘s practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Place Marcus Mariota On IR, Add DeShone Kizer To P-Squad

The Raiders have placed quarterback Marcus Mariota on injured reserve, per a club announcement. For added insurance, the club has added one-time Notre Dame star DeShone Kizer to the Raiders’ practice squad. 

Mariota’s strained pectoral muscle will keep him out for at least three weeks, per the league’s modified rules for 2020. Without him, the Raiders are rolling with two QBs on the active roster – Derek Carr and Nathan Peterman. Mariota’s temporary absence may take a little bit of pressure off of Derek Carr, who has certainly heard the footsteps. Mariota, who was leapfrogged by Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee, finished the year with a career-low 59.4% completion rate and just 1,203 yards.

Kizer has been on the workout trail ever since he was cut by the club in May, but those tryouts didn’t land him a deal. Now, the 2017 second-round pick will stick around in Las Vegas as he waits for his next opportunity. Kizer, 24, has made 18 appearances over the course of his NFL career, most of which came during the Browns’ winless season. All in all, he’s got eleven touchdowns against 24 interceptions.

Here’s the full rundown of the Raiders’ practice squad after Monday’s move:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Cut RB Theo Riddick

Theo Riddick could be on the move again. The veteran running back is being cut by the Raiders, a source told Paul Gutierrez of ESPN (Twitter link).

That being said that doesn’t mean he won’t be in Vegas, as Gutierrez notes the Raiders want him as a veteran exception on the practice squad. He also writes that Riddick impressed during his brief time in camp. The pass-catching specialist just signed with the team on August 23rd.

Riddick broke into the league as a sixth-round pick of the Lions in 2013, and spent the next six years in Detroit. He carved out a nice role on passing downs, and for a while was one of the top receiving backs in the league. His best season as a receiver came in 2015 when he caught 80 passed for 697 yards and three touchdowns.

His production declined shortly thereafter, and the Lions finally released him in July of last year. He quickly latched on with the Broncos, but didn’t appear in a game for Denver after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Sign LB Kyle Emanuel, RB Theo Riddick

The Raiders have been busy this weekend. Per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the club is signing linebacker Kyle Emanuel (Twitter link), and Rob Demovksy of ESPN.com tweets that the Raiders have signed running back Theo Riddick to a one-year pact.

Emanuel, 29, was selected by the division-rival Chargers in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, and he completed his four-year rookie pact with the team before announcing in April 2019 that he was retiring from the game. He appeared in 63 out of a possible 64 contests with the Bolts, including 33 starts, but he only topped 50% playing time once during that span. He was, however, a consistent force on special teams.

Before Emanuel stepped away, several teams were interested in his services (including the Raiders). He announced in March 2020 that he was coming out of retirement, and Pelissero says the North Dakota State product was again generating some attention on the open market. But Emanuel saw an opportunity to win in Vegas, so he put pen to paper with the Raiders.

He also likely saw an opportunity for playing time with the Silver-and-Black. The Raiders signed Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton this offseason, but Emanuel could theoretically push Nicholas Morrow and third-round rookie Tanner Muse for playing time on the weak side while showing off his ST acumen.

Riddick, who established himself as one of the league’s better receiving backs during his six-year stint with the Lions, also sat out the 2019 season, but that was due to injury, not retirement. Detroit released him last July, and the Broncos scooped him up shortly thereafter, but he suffered a shoulder fracture in the preseason that ultimately kept him sidelined for the entire campaign.

Though he has posted a mediocre 3.6 yards-per-carry average in his career, he has 285 career catches for 2,238 yards and 14 TDs. He will have a chance to reassert himself as a reliable pass catcher in Vegas behind RB1 Josh Jacobs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Mahomes, Broncos, Raiders

Everyone has known for a while now that when Patrick Mahomes signs his first contract extension, it’s going to involve some eye-popping numbers. The Chiefs are expected to pursue an extension sometime after the draft, and there has been a lot of chatter about Mahomes becoming the first player to eclipse $40MM in annual salary. While he wouldn’t get into specifics about negotiations, Mahomes made it clear in a recent interview with Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports that he’s in Kansas City for the long haul. “I want to make sure I do it the smart way and do it the right way, and so I don’t know exactly which way that is, yet. I know that my people and the Chiefs’ people will talk about it, and will do it at the right time and for the betterment for the team. But I’m excited to be a Kansas City Chief for a very long time, and I know that’s going to be handled the right way because of the people the Kansas City Chiefs have in their organization,” he explained.

There has been some speculation the Chiefs will try to get him on somewhat of a team-friendly deal in order to spread their cap resources around, similarly to what the Patriots have done with Tom Brady. Mahomes is going to get paid big-time either way, but he did seem to indicate that keeping their core together is a priority for him. “Whichever way possible, we’re going to do it and we’re gonna try to keep as many people on this team as we possibly can that won the Super Bowl this year so we can run it back again next year,” he said.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • Speaking of the Chiefs, they made a couple of assistant coaching moves today. Quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka has been given the additional title of passing game coordinator, and the team hired Andy Hill as a special teams assistant. The Eagles were interested in Kafka for their offensive coordinator vacancy, but Kansas City was ultimately able to retain him. All the way back in October we heard that Kafka was well-respected in the league and considered by some to be a future head coach. The former backup quarterback is the latest in a long line of Andy Reid assistants to get buzz.
  • The Broncos have a crowded backfield, but it’s about to get a little thinner. Both Devontae Booker and Theo Riddick will be allowed to walk in free agency, sources told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link). Booker was drafted by Denver in the fourth-round back in 2016, and had an up and down career with the team. He was the team’s starter for some of his rookie season, and he often played a big role on passing downs. At the same time, he was often relegated to the bench for extended stretches. 27 now, it’ll be interesting to see how his market develops. Riddick is another passing-downs specialist who signed with Denver this past summer after a productive six-year run with the Lions. He ended up missing the entire season with a shoulder injury, although Klis notes that he is healthy now and has been medically cleared. He’s 28 now, and will likely have a tough time finding much guaranteed money coming off the injury.
  • The Raiders are believed to be interested in signing linebacker Nick Vigil, sources told Adam Caplan of Sirius XM NFL Radio and Insidethebirds.com. Vigil, an impending free agent, spent the first four years of his career with the Bengals. He started all 16 games for Cincy this past season, racking up 111 tackles and five passes defended. Vigil will likely be seeking a decent-sized contract, and he should have a relatively strong market. Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther coached Vigil in Cincinnati, so there’s a lot of familiarity between the two sides.

Drew Lock To Return To Broncos Practice

Despite Joe Flacco enduring a rough Thursday night against the Chiefs, the Broncos as of now do not have a viable alternative at quarterback. Their depth chart, however, could return to full strength soon.

Drew Lock will practice next week, Vic Fangio said (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter). The second-round rookie has been out since midway through Denver’s preseason slate with a sprained right thumb. He can come off IR in Week 9.

Interestingly, two other players on the Broncos’ IR list — Theo Riddick and wideout Tim Patrick — will join Lock in returning to practice. IR rules stipulate the Broncos can only activate one of them, so either Riddick or Patrick will end up on season-ending IR soon.

Flacco lost his Ravens job to a rookie last season, with Lamar Jackson usurping him while the longtime Baltimore starter was out with injury. Flacco fared poorly in the Broncos’ latest nationally televised spot, pointing to another benching at some point in this season’s second half.

It would stand to reason the 2-5 Broncos will want to give Lock time down the stretch. While the University of Missouri product did not have a strong preseason, the Broncos’ worst start in two decades points them toward evaluation mode. Determining if Lock is a realistic future starter will be key for a team that could still consider taking another quarterback in the 2020 draft.

Since Patrick landed on IR after the Broncos’ Week 1 game, he cannot return to action until Week 9. Patrick showed some promise as a rookie, catching 23 passes for 315 yards and a touchdown. This season’s Broncos offense has not featured much in the passing game beyond Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders, with DaeSean Hamilton playing a more limited role.

Riddick chose the Broncos over interest from the Saints and other teams but went down during Denver’s preseason slate. A shoulder fracture shelved Riddick, but the longtime Lions passing-down back will have a chance to begin his age-28 season soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Place Lock, Butt, Riddick On IR

The Broncos have placed quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Jake Butt, and running back Theo Riddick on injured reserve, per a team announcement. All three will be eligible to return to game action after eight weeks, but the Broncos can only activate up to two players from IR, not the whole trio.

The moves will clear the way for three signings: linebackers Keishawn Bierria and Corey Nelson and cornerback Davontae Harris. Bierria and Nelson (see story here) will receive one-year deals while Harris gets a two-year pact.

If all three players return to full health, and Joe Flacco plays well, Butt and Riddick could be the leaders in the clubhouse for the Broncos’ IR-DTR spots.

Broncos RB Theo Riddick Out 6-8 Weeks

New Broncos RB Theo Riddick suffered a slight shoulder fracture during the team’s preseason game against the Seahawks on Thursday, as Mike Klis of 9News.com reports. Riddick will be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Luckily, the injury will not require surgery, and Riddick should return no later than Week 5. There was some chatter recently that Devontae Booker could become a trade candidate in the wake of the Riddick signing, but given Riddick’s injury, Denver will almost certainly hang on to Booker, an experienced third-down back.

The injuries are starting to pile up a bit for the Broncos. We learned Friday that fullback Andy Janovich will also miss the next six to eight weeks, and special teams standout Joe Jones will be sidelined for a while as well.

Riddick, who is best-known for his receiving ability out of the backfield, was expected to serve as a strong complement to starter Phillip Lindsay. He may still play an important role for the Broncos this year, but the team will have to rely more heavily on Booker and Royce Freeman for the first several weeks of the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos

It’s been a long offseason for the 49ers, who have seen numerous key players deal with injuries throughout the spring and summer. Add more to the list of San Francisco talents set to miss the preseason. Jerick McKinnon and Weston Richburg are both unlikely to play until Week 1. Given $18MM guaranteed, McKinnon is still dealing with knee trouble after missing all of last season with an ACL tear. The sixth-year running back received a platelet-rich plasma injection on his knee and is expected to miss the 49ers’ August slate, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes. The team activated him from the PUP list Tuesday, but Kyle Shanahan said his prized 2018 offseason signing experienced significant soreness after going through individual drills the past two days. Richburg, who remains on the active/PUP list after a January knee surgery, is being targeted a Week 1 return. So are Nick Bosa and Jason Verrett. The 49ers hope Dee Ford, who received a PRP injection on his injured knee, can play by the team’s dress-rehearsal preseason game.

Here’s the latest West news from outside of San Francisco:

  • With the Seahawks in desperate need of available pass rushers come Week 1, more blitz opportunities may be on tap. Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks (should he be on the field) are in position to be used more as rushers. “If we can play really good D, it’s going to be because of Bobby and K.J. and Mychal and the guys in the linebacker spot. We’re going to utilize them as much as we can to be a factor in all aspects, run and pass [defense],” Pete Carroll said, via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson. “Those guys are really good pass defenders, and they love coming off the edge too. We’ll plan on using those guys a lot.” After Frank Clark‘s departure, the Seahawks have Ziggy Ansah and L.J. Collier injured. Jarran Reed incurred a six-game suspension. Wright has not collected a sack since 2016, when he had four. Wagner had 4.5 that year but recorded 2.5 since.
  • Theo Riddick will earn a $2MM 2019 base salary with the Broncos, and $750K of it is fully guaranteed, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Another $250K will be available in per-game roster bonuses. Overall, Riddick signed for $2.5MM with $1MM guaranteed. This makes it a near-certainty Riddick will appear on the Broncos’ 53-man roster in September.
  • The Broncos are already down Todd Davis for multiple weeks; they will be without one of his top backups for longer than that. Joe Jones suffered a triceps injury this week, and a second opinion delivered more clarity on the inside linebacker’s timeline. Jones will be out between six and eight weeks, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. But he will not need surgery, which could increase his chances of making the Broncos. If Jones hits IR before the Broncos finalize their 53-man unit, the special-teamer will be ineligible to return for them this season.
  • Returning 2018 fifth-round pick Johnny Townsend would seemingly be in line to keep his job as the Raiders‘ punter, but Jon Gruden said rookie UDFA A.J. Cole has put himself in the conversation to unseat the incumbent, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter). Cole would be an option to handle Raiders kickoffs as well.