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Jake Long Announces Retirement

Offensive tackle Jake Long has announced his retirement from the NFL. In a message posted on Twitter, the former No. 1 overall pick thanked his family, fans, and NFL mentors for their belief in him along the way. Jake Long

Long dealt with injuries throughout his career and never truly fulfilled his potential as a result. Long started out with four consecutive Pro Bowl nods in his first four seasons with the Dolphins (including one First Team All-Pro nod in 2010), but his health slowly chipped him down. From 2012 through 2016, Long missed 38 regular season games.

After a lengthy career which included two ACL tears and one Achilles tear, one can hardly blame Long for hanging ’em up. Just prior to his 32nd birthday, Long has opted to spend more time with his family than try to hook on with another team for yet another one year deal. We here at PFR wish Long the best in retirement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Release Jaye Howard

The Chiefs cut one of their defensive line starters today, parting ways with Jaye Howard, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

This comes barely a year after Kansas City re-signed Howard on a two-year deal worth $10MM. The Chiefs now have only one of their 2016 Week 1 defensive line starters on the roster, with Allen Bailey still under contract. Dontari Poe left as a free agent last month.

This move will save the Chiefs $3.8MM while accounting for $2.5MM in dead money. Howard’s cap figure was set to rise from $3.5MM to $6.375MM, joining other recently re-signed Chiefs among those who saw the franchise backload their deals to free up cap space last year. But Howard will now be a free agent after starting for three seasons with the Chiefs, who entered Saturday with just $1.5MM in cap space.

With that $2.5MM being guaranteed on March 11, the Chiefs want Howard to sign elsewhere, Schefter tweets, in order to recoup some of that money. Assuming Howard does, in fact, sign elsewhere, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star tweets that the Chiefs can get up to $3.875MM in cap relief, regardless of when Howard signs.

Howard was one of the top defensive linemen in free agency last year but agreed to return to Kansas City as the team fortified its defense via re-ups of Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali. A year later, Johnson accepted a paycut and Howard is no longer on the roster. The Chiefs’ 2017 defensive line will almost certainly feature Chris Jones and Bennie Logan as starters, replacing Howard and Poe. Bailey would appear to be the third player set to start on this front, but both he and Howard experienced injury issues in 2016.

Howard and Bailey finished last season on IR, with a hip injury responsible for relegating Howard there after eight games. After a breakout 2015 season featuring a career-high five sacks for the former Seahawks fourth-round pick, Howard registered one in eight games last season. The 27-year-old lineman played both defensive end and nose tackle in the Chiefs’ 3-4 scheme and would figure to draw some interest on the open market, provided he’s in position to recover from the hip malady that sidelined him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Taylor Gabriel Signs RFA Tender

Taylor Gabriel will be back with the Falcons as they continue their offseason program. The wide receiver signed his RFA tender, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

Barring a new contract, the fourth-year wideout will make $2.81MM on the second-round tender this season. Gabriel figures to again be a key part of Atlanta’s passing attack, one that dazzled last season under Kyle Shanahan‘s guidance.

Gabriel turned in a second season of quality complementary work, with his 579-yard showing in 2016 representing the second-most of his career. Shanahan’s one year in Cleveland helped the then-rookie target to a 621-yard campaign in 2014. The six receiving touchdowns last season, though, were far and away Gabriel’s career high.

He’s yet to excel outside of Shanahan’s stewardship, though, so 2017 figures to be a critical year for the 5-foot-8 performer as he makes a case for long-term employment in Atlanta or elsewhere as a free agent. The 26-year-old receiver stands to be a UFA in 2018. For now, he’ll return to his post alongside Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu after rewarding the Falcons for their prescient preseason waiver claim.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Glen Coffee Attempting NFL Comeback

Glen Coffee is looking to return to the NFL. The running back has been reinstated from retirement and is attempting a comeback, reports Ben Volin of The Boston Globe (via Twitter). Following the news, Coffee was subsequently waived by the 49ers, and barring an unexpected waiver claim, he’ll become a free agent.

Glen CoffeeThe 2009 third-round pick out of Alabama spent only one season in the NFL, serving primarily as Frank Gore‘s backup in San Francisco. In 14 games, Coffee ran for 226 yards and one touchdown on 83 attempts. The running back also hauled in 11 receptions, returned three kicks, and compiled 11 tackles.

Prior to the 2010 season, the running back curiously announced his retirement (this ultimately led to the 49ers signing veteran Brian Westbrook). Coffee intended to return to the University of Alabama to finish his degree, and he later acknowledged that he was never fully committed to the sport. The 29-year-old had been serving as a paratrooper and working for the 6th Ranger Training Battalion since 2013.

“I can tell you, he’s in great shape,” agent Ray Oubre said (via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com). “The man doesn’t have a six-pack, he’s got a 12-pack. He’s been waiting for the right time to hopefully get a workout with someone and show what he can do.

“He had a calling, and right now he feels like it’s his time to show what he can do. He explained to me, ‘I can do things now that I couldn’t do when I was initially with the 49ers.’ That’s the kind of shape he’s in.”

It would have been a nice story for Coffee to return to the 49ers, but the team’s running back depth chart is crowded enough as is. The team is currently rostering Carlos Hyde, Tim Hightower, DuJuan Harris, Mike Davis, and Raheem Mostert.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Re-Sign Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson will be returning to the Redskins next season. The team announced that the restricted free agent running back has signed a new contract, although terms of the deal were not reported.

Chris ThompsonThis isn’t particularly surprising, as the deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets with rival clubs was yesterday. Therefore, Thompson essentially had no other choice but to sign Washington’s tender. The Redskins applied a second-round tender to Thompson back in March, which was estimated to be worth $2.74MM.

The 2013 fifth-round pick has spent his entire four-year career with the Redskins. 2016 was arguably his most productive campaign, as he collected career-highs in attempts (68), rushing yards (356), and rushing touchdowns (three). The versatile weapons has also shown to be a threat in the passing game, as he hauled in 49 catches for 349 yards and two scores last season. Thompson ultimately finished the year with 489 offensive snaps, the most among Redskins running backs.

Besides being a threat in the running and receiving game, the Redskins have also used Thompson as a return man. The 26-year-old has returned 33 career punts and 28 career kickoffs.

Thompson will be re-joining a Redskins running back corps that features Rob KelleyKeith MarshallMatt Jones, and Mack Brown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Cut Tre’ Jackson

Tre’ Jackson‘s Rams stay did not last long. The third-year guard saw another team cut ties with him this week, with Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reporting (on Twitter) the Rams waived Jackson on Friday after he failed his physical.

The Rams picked up Jackson via waivers after the Patriots cut him earlier this week. Volin reports a bad knee led to Jackson failing his Rams physical. He will venture back onto the waiver wire as a result of this development.

The former fourth-round pick started nine games for the Patriots in 2015 but did not play last season. Knee injuries ended Jackson’s rookie campaign and prevented him from playing at all in 2016. After multiple teams cut ties with the 24-year-old interior blocker this week, it looks like the former Florida State talent may have to recover on his own before making a return to action.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Claim S Trae Elston Off Waivers

Both defensive backs waived by the Browns on Thursday have now been claimed. The Bills have been awarded safety Trae Elston, per a club announcement.

Elston entered the league as a UDFA last year with the Saints. He missed final cuts and went on to have a practice squad stint with the Bucs before joining Cleveland’s active roster. After some roster reshuffling at the end of the year, he wound up signing back with Cleveland as a reserve/futures player before his Thursday release.

The Ole Miss product, known for his hard-hitting style, didn’t suit up for any regular-season games as a rookie.

Jaguars Claim S Tracy Howard Off Waivers

The Jaguars claimed safety Tracy Howard off waivers, per the NFL transactions wire. Howard was waived by the Browns on Thursday. Tracy Howard (vertical)

Howard, 22, caught on with the Browns last spring as an undrafted free agent from Miami. He appeared in all but one of their games and worked mostly on special teams, playing nearly 42 percent of snaps and returning seven kicks. Howard also saw a decent amount of action defensively (25.2 percent of snaps), and totaled 16 tackles.

The Jaguars presently have a boatload of safeties under contract with Tashaun Gipson (another former Brown), Barry Church, James Sample, Peyton Thompson, Jarrod Wilson, and Akeem Davis also on the depth chart.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/20/17

Thursday’s minor NFL moves:

  • The Cowboys have placed offensive lineman Ryan Seymour on the reserve/retired list, tweets the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta. The Seahawks used a seventh-round pick on Seymour in 2014, but he didn’t see any game action with them. Seymour went on to play in a combined 13 contests with the Browns, Saints and Cowboys during his three-year career. All three of his professional starts came in 2014 with Cleveland, as did a personal-best 11 appearances.
  • Broncos running back Zac Brooks has also gone on the reserve/retired list, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Like Seymour, Brooks entered the league as a seventh-round pick of the Seahawks, who chose him last year. As with Seymour, Brooks didn’t crack Seattle’s roster. The former Clemson Tiger was on the Seahawks’, Chiefs’ and Broncos’ practice squads in 2016.

Browns Cut Alvin Bailey, Tracy Howard

The Browns have cut offensive lineman Alvin Bailey and a pair of defensive backs, Tracy Howard and Trae Elston, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com (Twitter link).

Alvin Bailey (vertical)

Bailey, the most notable of the three, spent just one season with the Browns, who signed the ex-Seahawk as a free agent last March. The 25-year-old ended up playing in 14 of the Browns’ games (five starts) and ranking as one of Pro Football Focus’ worst guards. Bailey’s two missed contests came on account of a December suspension stemming from a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. That ban was the result of a September arrest on a DUI charge.

Howard, 22, caught on with the Browns last spring as an undrafted free agent from Miami. He appeared in all but one of their games and worked mostly on special teams, playing nearly 42 percent of snaps and returning seven kicks. Howard also saw a decent amount of action defensively (25.2 percent of snaps), and totaled 16 tackles.

Elston, undrafted out out of Ole Miss a year ago, didn’t suit up for any regular-season games as a rookie. He instead spent time on the practice squads of the Browns, Saints and Buccaneers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.