Transactions

Eagles, Cardinals Swap S Rudy Ford, DT Bruce Hector

The Eagles and Cardinals have agreed to a trade. Safety Rudy Ford, who was a sixth-round pick in 2017, will head to Philadelphia. Defensive tackle Bruce Hector will head to Arizona, as NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (Twitter link).

Hector came into the league in 2018 out of the University of South Florida. He was not selected in the 2018 draft but found his way onto the Eagles’ roster, appearing in eight games as a rookie and recording a half-sack. The big man was unlikely to make Philadelphia’s final roster this year.

Ford, who played college ball at Auburn, hasn’t carved out a major role on defense during his two seasons in the league. The 5’11” safety has top level speed and has played on Arizona’s special teams.

Steelers Sign Jayrone Elliott, Waive Lavon Hooks

The Steelers are bringing in linebacker Jayrone Elliott, according to the team’s website. To accommodate the move, the team has waived Lavon Hooks.

Elliot spent most of career with the Packers, appearing in 38 games for the franchise. He’s been a football nomad since Green Bay traded him to the Cowboys in 2017 with Dallas waiving him after just one game. Since then, he’s had stints with the Saints and Dolphins as well as an appearance in the Alliance of American Football league before it shut down.

Hooks tore his Achilles this preseason, which put the writing on the wall for his release. The 27-year-old defensive tackle has yet to play in an NFL game, instead, spending most of his time on practice squads.

Cardinals Sign Michael Crabtree

It’s a done deal. The Cardinals have, at long last, signed veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree, per an official team announcement. Crabtree nearly signed with Arizona earlier this month, but the pact was called off at the last minute.

During their prior round of negotiations with Crabtree, the Cardinals reportedly offered Crabtree a one-year deal with a $2.5MM base value. That contract also contained performance-based incentives that could have increased its total value to $4.5MM. Crabtree, who earned $8MM during his 2018 campaign with the Ravens, was “taken aback” by the offer. Arizona later increased its proposal, tweets Vic Tafur of the Athletic.

The Cardinals were in search of wideout help two weeks ago when discussing a deal with Crabtree, and subsequent events have only further elucidated Arizona’s need for another pass-catcher. Fourth-round rookie Hakeem Butler struggled during training camp and could miss the 2019 season after fracturing his hand, while free agent addition Kevin White was released earlier today.

New Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is expected to deploy “10” personnel — 1 running back, zero tight ends, four wide receivers — as his primary offensive package. Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk are locks to start in that formation, leaving Crabtree to compete with rookies Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson for time as Arizona’s third or fourth receiver.

Crabtree will bring a veteran presence to a young Cardinals locker room, but Arizona will hope he can produce better offensive results than he did with the Ravens in 2018. Crabtree, 34, posted only 54 receptions on 100 targets with Baltimore, the lowest catcher percentage of his career, and scored just three touchdowns, the fewest he’s managed in a full season during his NFL tenure.

Advanced metrics didn’t paint a rosier picture of Crabtree’s 2018 campaign. Among the 43 wideouts who received at least 83 targets last season, Crabtree ranked 42nd in Pro Football Focus‘ yards per route run, ahead of only Buffalo’s Zay Jones. Meanwhile, Crabtree ranked 74th among 84 qualifers in Football Outsiders‘ DYAR and 75th in DVOA, both of which measure value over an average replacement player.

While Crabtree didn’t exactly light on the world on fire with Joe Flacco under center, his production dwindled when run-first Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson entering the starting lineup. With Flacco starting in Baltimore’s first nine games, Crabtree averaged 8.4 targets, 4.6 receptions, 52.4 yards, and 0.2 touchdowns per game. When Jackson took over for the club’s final seven contests, Crabtree dropped to a 3.4/1.9/19.3/0.1 line.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals G Christian Westerman Returns To Team

Guard Christian Westerman has returned to the Bengals after reportedly considering retirement last week, the club announced today. Cincinnati has removed Westerman from the exempt/left squad list.

The Bengals could ill-afford to lose any more offensive linemen, so Westerman’s return is a welcome turn of events. Cincinnati has already seen two linemen (Clint Boling and Kent Perkins) announce their retirements this offseason, while rookie first-round pick Jonah Williams is expected to miss most (if not all) of the 2019 campaign after undergoing shoulder surgery in June. Cordy Glenn, who shifted back to left tackle after Williams’ injury, is now dealing with a concussion and won’t play again until the regular season.

A fifth-round pick in 2016, Westerman has typically shown flashes of talent when on the field, but he simply hasn’t gotten much opportunity (183 career snaps). The Arizona State product was viewed as the favorite to take over as the Bengals’ left guard earlier this offseason, but he’s now squarely in competition with John Jerry, Trey Hopkins, and rookie Michael Jordan to step in for Boling on the left side.

More Minor NFL Transactions: 8/21/19

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

  • Claimed off waivers: S Montrel Meander
  • Placed on injured reserve: WR D.J. Montgomery

Denver Broncos

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Lions Extend DT Damon Harrison

The Lions have reached agreement on a one-year contract extension with defensive tackle Damon Harrison, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The extra year will keep him under contract with Detroit through 2021 and is worth $11MM. Harrison will collect $12MM guaranteed from 2019-2020, per Schefter.

Harrison, 30, had been asking the Lions for a new contract since at least March, and Detroit seemed open to the idea from the start. “Snacks” skipped all non-mandatory Detroit practice sessions during the summer, but showed up for training camp at the end of July and was activated off the non-football injury list last week.

NFL players rarely earn (or even seek) extensions with two years remaining on their current deals, but Harrison is an immensely valuable part of the Lions defense. Detroit acquired Harrison from the Giants at the 2018 trade deadline in exchange for a fifth-round pick, and he started 10 games for the Lions down the stretch.

Harrison posted 50 and 3.5 sacks for the Lions while grading as the NFL’s third-best interior defender behind only Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox, per Pro Football Focus. PFF ranked Harrison as the league’s single-best run-stopping defensive tackle, and as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, Harrison has led the all NFL interior defenders in tackles in each of the past four seasons.

Harrison was scheduled to earn $6.75MM and $9MM in 2019 and 2020, respectively. At present, it’s unclear how or if the Lions will adjust those amounts, simply give Harrison a signing bonus, or use some other financial method to reward the veteran defensive tackle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Sign FB/TE Orson Charles

The Broncos have signed fullback/tight end Orson Charles, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Denver is dealing with injuries at both the fullback and tight end positions, so Charles will help the club’s depth. Undrafted free agent Austin Fort is out for the year after suffering a torn ACL earlier this month, first-round tight end Noah Fant suffered a mild ankle sprain in the Broncos’ Week 2 preseason game, and fullback Andy Janovich won’t return until late September at the earliest after sustaining a pectoral injury.

Charles, 28, appeared in 13 games and made two starts for the Browns in 2018. He saw action on 173 offensive plays, the most snaps he’d played since his rookie campaign with the Bengals in 2012. Charles, originally a fourth-round pick, also chipped in on 265 special teams snaps.

Cleveland had re-signed Charles in April, but released him earlier this month after landing former Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Release WR Kevin White

The Cardinals have released wide receiver Kevin White, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

White, the seventh overall selection in the 2015 draft, inked a one-year, $1.5MM deal with Arizona earlier this year which contained $400K in guaranteed money. While he was viewed as a longshot to make the Cardinals’ roster, White’s chances theoretically got better when fellow pass-catcher Hakeem Butler went down with a hand injury earlier this week. However, Butler’s health questions weren’t enough to save White’s roster spot.

Various injuries have cost White time over the past four seasons, with shin and shoulder ailments doing the most damage. White missed the entirety of his rookie campaign, and subsequently appeared in only 16 games in the following three years. 2018 actually marked White’s healthiest year (he played in nine games), but he only posted four receptions for 92 yards.

New Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is expected to use a four-wide receiver look quite frequently during his debut season, and with White out of the picture, Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella, and KeeSean Johnson are now clearly the top four wideouts on Arizona’s depth chart.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Claim Tyler Jones, Dadi Nicolas

The Broncos have claimed offensive tackle Tyler Jones (Jets) and linebacker Dadi Nicolas (Colts) off waivers. They’ll take the spots of tight end Bug Howard and cornerback Horace Richardson, who were placed on injured reserve.

[RELATED: Mike Shanahan On Broncos’ Interest, Coaching Plans]

Nicolas, 27 in September, appeared in eleven games as a reserve for the Chiefs in 2016. Since then, he’s been a frequent guest in Pro Football Rumors’ workout roundups and Minor NFL Transactions posts. Jones, a product of N.C. State, went undrafted this year despite having solid foot speed for the offensive line.

Howard, a UNC product, made noise as a senior in 2016 with 53 grabs for 827 yards and eight touchdowns. Since then, he’s made the rounds in the NFL, but has yet to see live action.