Tim Dobbins

Cowboys Activate Josh Brent, Waive Dobbins

3:38pm: The Cowboys have officially activated Brent and waived veteran linebacker Tim Dobbins, according to the club (Twitter link).

3:07pm: As they head into their bye week, the Cowboys will welcome back a player who hasn’t seen the field in a regular season game for nearly two years. According to head coach Jason Garrett (Twitter link via Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com), the team will activate defensive tackle Josh Brent to its 53-man roster today.

Brent, 26, has finished serving a 10-game suspension which stemmed from a car accident that resulted in the death of his teammate Jerry Brown in December of 2012 — Brent, who voluntarily took the 2013 season off as well, was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

While Garrett cautioned that Brent will need to lose weight and get into football shape, it appears as if the team has confidence that the Illinois product can contribute. Earlier this month, the Cowboys signed Brent to an extension that keeps him under control through the 2015 season.

As is the case with other players returning from suspension, the Cowboys should get a week-long exemption to carry Brent on the roster without waiving anyone, but considering this is the club’s bye week, the team will have to create a spot for the defensive tackle at some point before its next game.

Cowboys Sign Tim Dobbins

The Cowboys have signed linebacker Tim Dobbins, according to Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com (on Twitter). To make room, the Cowboys are expected to place Justin Durant on injured reserve.

The Falcons signed Dobbins to help replace the injured Sean Weatherspoon this offseason, but he did not make the final cut in late August. Since then, he has auditioned for the Raiders and Pats but didn’t find an NFL home until today. Over parts of eight seasons with the Chargers, Dolphins, and Texans, Dobbins has appeared in 110 games and made 22 starts. He has 195 total tackles to his credit with two sacks and seven fumble recoveries. Four of those fumble recoveries came during an especially fortuitous 2012 season.

Durant, who was starting at weakside linebacker, suffered a season-ending biceps tear earlier this week.

AFC Notes: Sparano, Patriots, Hoyer, Browns

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers sees big things ahead for Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr, writes Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. “He played really well,” Rivers said. “He was efficient, making some checks, handling things at the line. He showed great poise. I don’t know him at all. He’s got a heck of a career if he keeps this up.” Even though Oakland came up short in their upset bid over San Diego, Raiders fans have to be happy with what they saw out of Carr yesterday. More from the AFC..

  • Raiders players have responded well to interim head coach Tony Sparano, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Despite Sunday’s final result, Sparano is clearly getting better play out of his team than predecessor Dennis Allen was.
  • Even with serious injuries to linebacker Jerod Mayo and running back Stevan Ridley, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) doesn’t expect the Patriots to make any roster moves today, even on a short week.
  • With that said, the Patriots auditioned five linebackers today, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter): Justin Anderson, Kaelin Burnett, Tim Dobbins, Mario Harvey, and Paul Hazel.
  • Pending free agent Brian Hoyer would like to stay with the Browns but he’s also being realistic as he looks ahead. “I’m from Cleveland and I want to be here…but [I’m] also a competitor. I want to be somewhere where I’m playing,” the quarterback said, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer (via Twitter).
  • Browns head coach Mike Pettine is hopeful that center Alex Mack can return to the field in 2014 after undergoing surgery on his broken fibula, writes Pat McManamon of ESPN.com. If Mack has only a broken leg, it’ll be an 8-10 week absence. If it’s anything more, he’d be done for the year.
  • More bad news for the Browns. In addition to possibly losing Mack for the season, they learned that they’ll also be without defensive end Armonty Bryant, who has a torn ACL, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Bryant also has a partial MCL tear and will undergo surgery soon. Pettine told reporters today, including Jeff Schudel of The News-Herald (on Twitter), that a replacement for Bryant may be necessary. That’s not the case at center, however, where he feels he has in-house options to step in.

West Notes: Raiders, L.A., Chargers, Cards

As rumors swirl about the NFL’s goal of moving not just one but two franchises to Los Angeles in the near future, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report hears that the Raiders – and owner Mark Davis – are open to relocating to the NFC if it means getting a new stadium in L.A. Assuming the league gets its wish and relocates two teams to Los Angeles, the Raiders and Chargers appear to be the two most likely candidates, and having two L.A. teams in the same division wouldn’t be ideal, as Cole explains. We’re still a long ways off from this scenario becoming a reality, but the fact that such a possibility is even being considered suggests that it’s not just a pipe dream.

Let’s round up a few more Wednesday items from around the NFL’s two West divisions….

  • According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), if a team were to move to Los Angeles, possibilities for a temporary home (until a new stadium is built) include Dodger Stadium, the Coliseum, and the Rose Bowl.
  • As they deal with a lack of depth at the linebacker position, the Raiders brought in several veterans for a look, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Tim Dobbins, Jamar Chaney, and Steve Beauharnais all worked out for Oakland, though Beauharnais has since signed with Washington’s practice squad.
  • The Chargers, who lost Danny Woodhead for the year and have also seen Ryan Mathews and Donald Brown suffer injuries, worked out running backs Cierre Wood and Brennan Clay this week, according to Wilson (via Twitter).
  • A pair of free agent defensive backs, Robert Steeples and Ross Weaver, auditioned for the Cardinals, tweets Wilson.
  • Head coach Pete Carroll indicated today that the Seahawks may make a move to add some depth at center, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.

Sunday Transactions: NFC South

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC South teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions are noted below.

Additionally, as of 11:00am CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. For the 2014 and 2015 seasons, changes were made to practice squad rules that allow teams to carry eight players instead of 10, and the eligibility requirements for those extra two spots were also loosened. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Atlanta Falcons:

Carolina Panthers:

New Orleans Saints:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Falcons Sign Tim Dobbins

The Falcons lost a linebacker tonight when they traded Akeem Dent to the Texans for quarterback T.J. Yates, but they wasted little time in finding a replacement. The club announced that they have agreed to terms with linebacker Tim Dobbins, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Dobbins was mentioned last week by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network as one of the veteran LBs that Atlanta was eyeing. The Falcons were also considering Jonathan Vilma, who worked out for the team today, and Pat Angerer, but it appears that Dobbins has won out. Dobbins doesn’t have the name recognition of either player but Atlanta brass clearly feels better about what the lesser-known talent can provide in 2014.

Over parts of eight seasons with the Chargers, Dolphins, and Texans, Dobbins has appeared in 110 games and made 22 starts. He has 195 total tackles to his credit with two sacks and seven fumble recoveries. Four of those fumble recoveries came during an especially fortuitous 2012 season.

The Falcons could have given consideration to other big names like the recently retired London Fletcher or ex-Steelers LB James Harrison, but both ideas were shot down last week by Rapoport’s report.

Falcons Notes: Dobbins, Southward, Castillo

Yesterday, in the wake of Sean Weatherspoon‘s season-ending Achilles injury, I examined the Falcons’ options for potential linebacker replacements. While Atlanta isn’t likely to find a player capable of replicating Weatherspoon’s production, there are several in-house candidates to play more snaps. Still, I concluded that the Falcons would probably increase their pursuit of an outside option, perhaps bringing in a veteran via free agency. It didn’t take long for reports to confirm that the club was exploring that possibility, with a story last night suggesting Pat Angerer, Jonathan Vilma, and Tim Dobbins were among the Falcons’ potential targets.

Here’s the latest from out of Atlanta:

  • Dobbins, who last played for the Texans, is expected to pay a visit to the Falcons today, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Even if Atlanta is impressed by Dobbins and signs him to a contract, that doesn’t mean he’ll be penciled in as Weatherspoon’s replacement, according to McClure, who points out that the club has been impressed by rookies Prince Shembo and Marquis Spruill.
  • The Falcons have signed third-round safety Dezmen Southward to his four-year rookie contract, the team announced today in a press release. Southward, the 68th overall selection last month, was the last of nine Atlanta draftees to ink his deal, so the club now has all its picks under contract.
  • Kicker Sergio Castillo has also signed a contract with the Falcons, according to the team’s Twitter account. As McClure notes in a tweet, the move means there’s now one opening left on Atlanta’s 90-man roster, potentially for a veteran linebacker like Dobbins or Vilma.

Falcons Eyeing Vilma, Angerer, Dobbins

Falcons coach Mike Smith says the club is going to look in-house to replace the injured Sean Weatherspoon, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t evaluate their options in free agency. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (on Twitter) hears that the Falcons are looking hard at former Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma. They’re also keeping an eye on fellow free agent veterans Pat Angerer and Tim Dobbins, according to Rapoport’s source.

If Vilma’s medicals look good, the Falcons may bring him in for a visit soon (link). The addition of Vilma could help shore up Atlanta’s linebacking core while also giving them some needed leadership in the locker room. Vilma is also being considered by the Cowboys, along with Brian Urlacher, as a potential replacement for Sean Lee. The former University of Miami star played only 12 snaps in 2013 following a knee injury.

Back in April it was reported that Angerer had interest from multiple clubs but wanted to make sure he was back to 100% health before auditioning for anyone. Angerer, 27, recorded 126 tackles in his first two NFL seasons but has played in just 12 games over the last two. Dobbins, 31, saw just three games of action last season for the Texans.

While Vilma, Angerer, and Dobbins will be considered by Atlanta, Rapoport says (link) that ex-Steelers LB James Harrison and the recently retired London Fletcher won’t be looked at. Earlier today, our own Luke Adams gave a thorough breakdown of all of the Falcons’ options and mentioned Vilma and Angerer as two of the top possibilities.