Tyree Jackson

Extra Points: Murray, Njoku, Contracts

Before he was the first overall pick of the Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft, Kyler Murray was the ninth overall pick of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Oakland A’s. Then he went on to win the Heisman Trophy, causing him to rocket up NFL draft boards. Even after winning the Heisman Murray initially was reported to be pursuing baseball over football, but obviously that changed when it became clear just how high he’d be drafted. We haven’t heard a ton about his baseball passions since, but he made it clear he isn’t over the game in interviews this past week. “I would love to” play baseball again one day Murray said on The Pat McAfee Show, via Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic. “I think it’s still there because I’ve been doing it my whole life. It wasn’t like I have to turn this off to be elite at football.”

When asked if he could see himself playing football and baseball at the same time one day soon, Murray said “I hope so. I hope so. I mean, I would love to. I think that would be good for everybody … I think it is tough because I play quarterback.” He also added that walking away from Oakland was “definitely the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.” The Cardinals likely aren’t as enthused about the possibility, and it’s specifically in his contract that he’s not allowed to play baseball. Maybe when it comes time for Murray to get a contract extension from Arizona, he’ll look to negotiate a clause that allows him to try his hand at baseball? It’s certainly fun to think about, and I think every fan would be hoping he can become the next Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders.

Here’s more from around the league as we officially turn our attention toward the offseason:

  • David Njoku had a rocky season with the Browns, even as the team had their most success in decades. The drafting of Harrison Bryant and signing of Austin Hooper reduced his role on offense, and Njoku demanded to be traded this past summer, then changed his mind on that demand, then apparently changed his mind once again and wanted to be traded in October. Obviously Cleveland didn’t want to deal him, and it looked like everything had more or less been worked out, but Njoku fanned the flames again this past week. “That’s a good question,” Njoku said recently on the Jim Rome Show when asked if he’s in the right spot, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “I’m not going to answer that right now. I have no comment towards that at this moment,” Njoku said cryptically. The 29th overall pick of the 2017 draft added that everything would work itself out in the “near future.” Thanks to his fifth-year option the tight end is under contract for 2021 at a hair over $6MM, although that’s not guaranteed. If they choose to keep him at that number, it sounds like another trade request could be in the cards.
  • Reserve/futures deals are non-guaranteed pacts to keep unheralded players a part of a team’s offseason 90-man roster, so they usually don’t come with any bonuses or guaranteed money. When they do, that makes them a lot more notable, and Field Yates of ESPN.com recently tweeted out this cycle’s biggest. Cornerback Grant Haley got $35.7K from the Saints, safety Marqui Christian and cornerback Xavier Crawford got $35K and $31.3K respectively from the Bears, long snapper Dan Godsil got $27.4K from the Bengals, and tight end Tyree Jackson got $25.2K from the Eagles while punter Arryn Siposs got $25K from Philly. All these guys would seem to have a better than normal chance of cracking next year’s 53. Haley saw a lot of run his first two years in the league with the Giants, and was up and down from New Orleans’ practice squad in 2020. If Cincy is giving a reserve/futures long snapper $25K, you’ve gotta figure they think there’s a good chance he’s their guy next year. Jackson is a notable name since he’s the former University of Buffalo star quarterback who has since transitioned to tight end.
  • Speaking of relatively minor contracts, Yates also tweeted the details for the recent extensions for Raiders quarterback Nathan Peterman and 49ers long snapper Taybor Pepper. Peterman got a guaranteed $1MM base salary on his one-year deal, a $25K workout bonus, and a max value of $2.775MM with incentives. Pepper got two-years, $2.08MM with an $80K signing bonus and $220K of his $920K salary for 2021 guaranteed. It’s pretty eyebrow-raising to see Peterman get his $1MM guaranteed considering he’s thrown all of five passes the past two seasons, but Jon Gruden clearly loves the guy. This would suggest he’s got a good shot to hold the clipboard for Derek Carr, or whoever is the Raiders’ starter next year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/9/21

Here are the latest NFL minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Signed to reserve/futures deal: QB/WR Joe Webb

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

NFL Workout Updates: 12/3/19

Today’s notes from the workout/visit circuit:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Tennessee Titans

XFL Draft Day 1 Fallout

The XFL’s two-day draft began Tuesday. In addition to certain quarterbacks being assigned to teams, several notable players went off the board in the rebooting league’s selection event.

The league divided its draft into sections. Skill-position players (and other quarterbacks) went in one portion of the draft, with offensive linemen going second and then select defenders in another section. Connor Cook was the first quarterback to go in the non-allocation portion of the draft, being selected by the Houston franchise at No. 2 overall.

Here are some recent NFL skill-position players taken:

Here are the notable offensive linemen selected in that section of the draft:

Lastly, some front-seven names of note came off in that part of this event:

For a full team-by-team breakdown, Sporting News cataloged the first parts of this event.

Packers Work Out Five Players

The Packers were busy today, as ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the team worked out five players. The group of auditionees included wide receivers Ryan Grant and T.J. Jones, quarterback Tyree Jackson, running back Roc Thomas, and defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes.

It’s been a busy few days for Grant and Jones, as the two wideouts worked out for the Vikings on Friday. The 28-year-old Grant caught four passes for just 14 yards with Oakland this season, although he did snag 35 passes for 334 yards with the Colts in 2018. Jones has 67 career receptions in 45 games, and he also has some experience returning kicks and punts. He had three receptions for 38 yards and one score in three games with the Giants this season.

Vanderdoes, a 2017 third-round pick by the Raiders, had a solid rookie season, compiling 18 tackles in 16 games (13 starts). He tore his ACL at the end of that season, and he wasn’t activated from the PUP during the 2018 campaign. Vanderdoes landed on IR following this year’s preseason, and he was cut by the organization earlier this week.

Thomas, 24, appeared in five games as a rookie for the Vikings last season, compiling 51 total yards on offense. Jackson was an undrafted free agent out of Buffalo in this past year’s draft. He spent the preseason with the Bills.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/10/19

We’ve got another busy day of workouts, with many teams across the league hosting players.

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

NFC North Notes: Lions, Jackson, Vikings, Fields, Vedvik, Packers, Goodson

The Lions might not be done stockpiling quarterbacks. At cutdown day, they had amassed five on the 90-man roster. They cut Tom Savage and Luis Perez to get them down to three, but are now apparently looking for additional options. Detroit will work out Tyree Jackson on Monday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). The Bills waived Jackson this weekend. As of right now the Lions have journeyman Josh Johnson and undrafted rookie David Blough, who they just traded for, on the roster behind Matthew Stafford.

The Lions also scheduled a Kyle Sloter workout, but the recently waived Vikings passer ended up signing with the Cardinals’ practice squad. Sloter drew interest from several teams, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Jackson left the University of Buffalo a year early, then went undrafted. He’s widely regarded as having impressive physical tools, but still being far too raw to play anytime soon.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • The Vikings made a minor trade with the Chiefs for cornerback Mark Fields over the weekend, and now we have the details. The 2021 seventh-round pick Minnesota sent is conditional, a source told Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link). Gooessling writes that it’s “based on Fields being on the Vikings’ roster for an agreed-upon number of games,” and that if Fields isn’t on the roster long Minnesota won’t have to give up anything. Fields was an undrafted rookie from Clemson who the Vikings reportedly had interest in right after the draft.
  • Speaking of Vikings trades, Minnesota caught some flak for trading a fifth-round pick for kicker/punter Kaare Vedvik and then cutting him a few weeks later. Vedvik struggled during the preseason, and Minnesota opted to stick with Dan Bailey as their kicker. The Jets ended up claiming Vedvik off waivers, but Minnesota apparently wanted him back. The Vikings had offered him a spot on the practice squad and he was likely going to accept before New York claimed him, Tomasson tweets.
  • We also now have terms on the B.J. Goodson trade. The Giants initially announced they intended to release the inside linebacker, but then traded him to the Packers earlier this morning. The deal was done in exchange for the teams agreeing to swap conditional 2020 seventh-round picks, according to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Balzer notes that Green Bay sent a pick they had previously acquired from Baltimore in the deal. Goodson was a fourth-round pick of the Giants’ back in 2016, who started 13 games for them last year.

Bills Reach 53-Man Max

The Bills dropped a host of players on Saturday to reach the 53-man limit, but they also carved out spots by other means. Fifth-round linebacker Vosean Joseph (shoulder) and running back Senorise Perry (quad) were placed on IR while undrafted linebacker Tyrell Dodson was placed on the Commissioner’s exempt list.

Here’s the full list of cut players in Buffalo:

DE Sam Acho
TE Nate Becker
WR Victor Bolden Jr.
TE Kyle Carter
S Kurt Coleman
WR Nick Easley
DE Jeff Holland
QB Tyree Jackson
OT Jarron Jones
LB Deon Lacey
CB Cam Lewis
CB Ryan Lewis
OL Eric Magnuson
WR Ray-Ray McCloud
RB LeSean McCoy
K Chase McLaughlin
CB Captain Munnerlyn
RB Marcus Murphy
DT Kyle Peko
WR Cam Phillips
CB Lafayette Pitts
OL Demetrius Rhaney
CB Denzel Rice
WR David Sills
TE Keith Towbridge
RB Christian Wade
S Abraham Wallace
DT L.T. Walton
WR Duke Williams
DE Eddie Yarbrough
DT Roderick Young

Bills Cut CB Captain Munnerlyn

Captain Munnerlyn‘s stint with the Bills only lasted several weeks. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the veteran cornerback has been released.

With Buffalo eyeing some reinforcement in their secondary, the team brought in Munnerlyn in early August. The cornerback was familiar with head coach Sean McDermott’s defense, making him a logical fill-in for injured cornerback E.J. Gaines. Instead, it sounds like the organization decided to opt for younger options at the position.

A consistent starter between Carolina and Minnesota from 2011-14, Munnerlyn has taken on a backup role in recent campaigns. In 2018, he appeared in all 16 games, starting five, and registered one interception and nine passes defensed. In his 10-year career, Munnerlyn has logged 12 interceptions, five of which he has returned for scores.

Munnerlyn isn’t the only veteran defender to lose his job. Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic tweets that veteran defensive end Sam Acho has also been cut. The 30-year-old joined the team earlier this month. Acho spent the past four years in Chicago, including a 2018 campaign where he was limited to only four games.

The Bills also let go of two intriguing offensive players: running back Marcus Murphy (via Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic on Twitter) and quarterback Tyree Jackson.

AFC East Notes: Rosen, Patriots, Darron Lee, Bills

The Dolphins weren’t the only team interested in trading for Josh Rosen, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson writes. Jackson sites an NFL official who was in contact with the Cardinals after the trade was announced, and mention the Patriots as another team that was attempting to acquire the 2018 first-rounder.

Rosen, of course, ended up in Miami, and New England took its own quarterback when it tabbed Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham in the fourth round. In the weeks leading up to the draft, New England was mentioned, along with several other teams, as a potential landing spot for the quarterback.

With other teams being interested, it helps explain why the Dolphins were willing to part with a 2019 second-rounder, and a fifth-round pick in 2020.

Here’s more from around the AFC East:

  • Teddy Bruschi thinks the Patriots might have been led to draft N’Keal Harry in the first round because of the physical presence Josh Gordon brought to the team last year, ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes. “They get him last year, put a 6-3, 225-pound target out there and see what a great piece it was for them, how great it was for Tom Brady,” Bruschi theorized. “Maybe that changed the perception of what they might need.” Of course, the Patriots haven’t picked a receiver in the first round in the Bill Belichick era, so the theory could be accurate.
  • Sticking in New England, the video that led to the arrest of team owner Robert Kraft will eventually be released to the public, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes. The judge ruled the tape can be released in a way that won’t taint the jury pool.
  • The Jets have been shopping linebacker Darron Lee throughout the offseason, and that isn’t expected to stop now that the 2019 draft has concluded, Pro Football Talk’s Darin Gantt writes. Lee became expendable once the team brought in C.J. Mosley.
  • Also in New York, team general manager Mike Maccagnan has reportedly been on the hot seat. If the team does make a change, one exec to keep an eye on is Joe Douglas with the Eagles, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweets. La Canfora mentions the Eagles exec has ties to Jets first-year head coach Adam Gase.
  • The Bills made a splash in the undrafted free agent pool, signing local product Tyree Jackson. Buffalo reportedly couldn’t believe the Buffalo quarterback wasn’t drafted, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes“He was on our draft board to be drafted. I’m surprised. You saw his name still sitting there late in the seventh, and you start going, ‘Man, if this kid doesn’t get drafted, we’re going to have to go after him.’ And we did,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said. Jackson is expected to compete for the team’s backup spot to Josh Allen.
  • The Dolphins already boast 12 picks in the 2020 draft. General manager Chris Grier says that is to be the rule going forward, the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley tweets. Beasley predicts the team is expected to use its cap space next offseason to buy even more draft picks rather than signing top free agents.