Vlad Ducasse

Bills Sign DE Sam Acho, Release OG Vlad Ducasse

The Bills have signed defensive end Sam Acho and have released guard Vlad Ducasse, the team announced. Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic observes that Ducasse was running with the third-stringers when all of Buffalo’s O-linemen were healthy, so he was clearly not going to make the team (Twitter link). As a veteran and former starter, the club likely wanted to give him a chance to catch on elsewhere.

Indeed, Ducasse started 21 games for the Bills over the past two seasons, but he did not fare particularly well in either campaign. Buffalo made the O-line a primary focus this offseason, and the former second-round pick of the Jets slid down the depth chart as a result. Although he has never been a top performer, another club will likely bring him in to serve as experienced depth.

Acho, meanwhile, missed most of 2018 with a pectoral injury. In 2017, he started 12 games and played on 60% of the Bears’ defensive snaps, posting 27 tackles, three sacks, and one pass defensed. Last year, he had just two tackles across four games.

After recording seven sacks in his rookie campaign in Arizona in 2011, Acho has never been able to replicate that success. He will attempt to make the Bills as a situational pass rusher after Buffalo traded Eli Harold earlier this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Flacco, Boldin, Landry

PFR sends best wishes to Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who “will be taking time away from the team to focus on a minor health issue,” according to a club announcement. Specifically, Lewis is dealing with a Baker’s Cyst on his ankle, but the initial fear was that he had a blood clot, per Stacey Dales of NFL Network (Twitter link). The Bengals expect Lewis to return sometime this week, fortunately, and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons will hold the reins as long as he’s out.

More from the AFC:

  • There’s no comeback date for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who’s dealing with a back injury, but a second opinion last week yielded news that was “positive for a slow return,” a league source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano (via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com). The Ravens can afford to be patient with Flacco because he’s a 10-year veteran who has a full understanding of their offense, noted head coach John Harbaugh. “Every play we’ve run, he’s run before numerous times,” Harbaugh said.
  • The Bills’ signing of Anquan Boldin could help put them in position to land a third-round compensatory pick next offseason, writes Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Because the Bills signed seven free agents and lost five prior to May 9, the cutoff date for the compensatory formula, they aren’t poised to receive a pick at the moment. But Boldin may make one of those signings, wideout Andre Holmes, expendable, and Rodak lists fellow FA additions Vlad Ducasse (guard) and Ryan Davis (defensive end) as release candidates. Parting with all three would give the Bills more losses than signings (five to four), thus netting them a valuable pick for 2018.
  • This week, the girlfriend of Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry issued a statement regarding the allegations that were raised against him earlier this year (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). “In March of 2017 the father of my child and I had a vocal disagreement that resulted in someone calling 911. I, myself did not call the police. When the police arrived they determined that there was no cause for any arrests nor was there any concern for my physical well-being. There were no arrests made, there were no criminal charges, I was not in any way physically harmed Yes, we are going through a civil family court case and emotions are high, but I would like to make it very clear that Jarvis would never, ever do anything to harm me or anyone else. Jarvis and I are happily raising our beautiful daughter and I would like to make a plea to the media that they refrain from spreading this completely false story.”

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC East Rumors: Burris, Bills, Fins, Patriots

As the Jets attempt to conjure up a competitive team while fighting tanking perceptions, young players will emerge as key cogs. One such performer, in the eyes of the New York Post’s Brian Costello, will be cornerback Juston Burris. After being used intermittently last season, the 2016 fourth-rounder looks to be a threat for a much bigger role this year. Costello notes Burris has already passed Marcus Williams on the depth chart, despite the latter being given a second-round tender in March. The reporter is betting Burris will start alongside Morris Claiborne, with Buster Skrine in the slot, instead of Williams functioning alongside the former Cowboy. That would be interesting given Williams’ experience advantage, but Burris developing to this level would give Gang Green some depth at corner they lacked last season after Darrelle Revis‘ play tailed off considerably.

Here’s the latest coming out of the AFC East.

  • Although the Jets signed former Colts center Jonotthan Harrison, Wesley Johnson is expected to be the team’s starting center, Costello writes. Harrison, who was signed to compete for the starting job, may be more of a depth piece. Johnson started eight games after Nick Mangold‘s season-ending injury. He ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 33 center, out of 38 full-timers graded, so there’s work ahead for the fourth-year blocker.
  • On the subject of offensive lines, the Bills‘ is tentatively taking shape. The respective injuries of Cordy Glenn and Eric Wood are hindering the group, though. With Glenn still sidelined from the ankle injury he suffered last year, something new HC Sean McDermott called “a concern,” rookie Dion Dawkins took his place at left tackle during the offseason workouts. Dawkins was drafted to compete with Jordan Mills at right tackle, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News notes. Glenn being expected to return by camp may shuttle Dawkins over to the right side come August. Carucci adds that journeyman Vlad Ducasse was signed to push John Miller at right guard. The two split reps during OTAs and minicamp. Carucci also notes Wood’s 2016 broken right leg setback was not as severe as the broken left leg injury he sustained as a rookie in 2009. Wood participated sporadically in Buffalo’s offseason work.
  • The AFC East saw a recent first-year coach’s season that could turn out to be an aberration, with Todd Bowles‘ 10-6 debut preceding a dismal second season and a house-cleaning of most of the Jets’ veterans. But Adam Gase has ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss, Rich Cimini and Mike Rodak more convinced he will be the Dolphins‘ coach for the long haul. The Dolphins made the playoffs for the first time in eight years last season. Reiss and Cimini came away from Gase’s rookie HC season impressed with the culture he’s building.
  • A year featuring the arrivals of Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore places this year in the running for greatest Bill Belichick offseason with the Patriots, Reiss writes. He rates this one as Belichick’s second-best behind only 2001 — when the likes of Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel, Roman Phifer, David Patten and others arrived — in his 18 offseasons in New England.

AFC Notes: Chiefs, Browns, Kap, Bills

The latest news and notes from the AFC:

  • The Chiefs have announced several changes to their front office, including the hiring of Tim Terry as director of pro personnel and the promotion of Ryan Poles from college scouting coordinator to director of college scouting. Terry is joining his second NFL organization after spending the first 13 years of his career in Green Bay, where he was most recently the team’s assistant director of pro personnel. General manager John Dorsey was in the Packers’ front office before the Chiefs hired him in 2013, so he’s already familiar with Terry. Kansas City’s Dorsey-led front office also pried Chris Shea away from Philadelphia. Shea, the Chiefs’ new salary cap and legal executive, previously served as the Eagles’ director of scouting administration.
  • Former NFL head coach and current 49ers assistant Eric Mangini believes that Colin Kaepernick would be a great fit for the Browns.  “I think as the market settles and people start looking at these young quarterbacks they brought in and start evaluating the quarterback situation, they might realize it may not look as good as they hoped it would be,” Mangini told PFT. “I always thought he would be a good fit for the Browns. Hue [Jackson’s] system is multiple shifts and motions, and that’s what he did in San Francisco. Hue has an element of quarterback-driven runs, I think Colin is excellent as that. As a candidate, him vs. RGIII a year ago, I’d take Colin 10 times out of 10.” So far, the Browns have shown no interest in Kaepernick. To date, only Seattle has given him a real look.
  • Currently, the Bills are not projected to receive any 2018 compensatory picks because they signed more unrestricted free agents (seven) to qualifying contracts than they lost to other teams (five). However, the Bills can change that, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes. By releasing a total of four of their seven signed free agents between now and Week 10, the Bills would be projected to tack on two compensatory picks – one being a third-rounder for losing cornerback Stephon Gilmore plus a fourth-rounder for losing wide receiver Robert Woods. The most likely UFAs to go, in Rodak’s estimation, are defensive end Ryan Davis, offensive lineman Vlad Ducasse, and wide receiver Andre Holmes. To secure that fourth-round pick, they could also cut fullback Patrick DiMarco or kicker Steven Hauschka.

Contract Details: Hoyer, Newman, Dansby

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed contracts:

  • Karlos Dansby, LB (Cardinals): One year, $2MM. $700K guaranteed. $250K available via incentives (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Vlad Ducasse, OL (Bills): Three years, $3.5MM. $250K guaranteed. $250K signing bonus. Playing time incentives available (link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com).
  • Brian Hoyer, QB (49ers): Two years, $12MM. $9.85MM guaranteed. $4MM signing bonus. $1.5MM available via incentives (20 touchdowns, 2,500 passing yards, Pro Bowl) in 2017. $5MM available via incentives (same thresholds) in 2018 (links via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com).
  • Bennie Logan, DT (Chiefs): One year, $8MM. $7.68MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star).
  • Alex Okafor, LB/DE (Saints): One year, $2MM. $1MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. $1MM available in sack and playtime incentives (Twitter link via Nick Underhill of the Advocate).
  • Terence Newman, CB (Vikings): One year, $3.25MM. $1.5MM guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune).

Bills To Sign OL Vlad Ducasse

The Bills plan to sign guard Vlad Ducasse to a three-year deal, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.Vlad Ducasse (Vertical)

Ducasse, a former second-round pick, has bounced around for most of his career, spending time with the Jets, Vikings, and Bears before joining the Ravens last year. Signed as a depth option, Ducasse ended up starting eight games in Baltimore, grading as the league’s No. 59 guard, per Pro Football Focus. All told, the 29-year-old Ducasse has appeared in 88 career games, including 30 starts.

In Buffalo, Ducasse will become a clear-cut backup, as the Bills already boast two above-average guards in Richie Incognito and John Miller, each of whom played more than 1,000 snaps last season. Still, Buffalo can’t have too much offensive line depth as it attempts to recreate its No. 1 DVOA-rated rushing offense. Plus, Ducasse will reunite former Ravens offensive line coach Juan Castillo, who now holds the same role with the Bills.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Sign G Vladimir Ducasse

The Ravens announced that they are placing cornerback Sheldon Price on injured reserve. To fill his spot on the roster, the Ravens re-signed guard Vlad Ducasse. Vlad Ducasse

[RELATED: Ravens Fire OC Marc Trestman]

Price’s season is likely over thanks to a severe thigh injury. The cornerback started for Baltimore on Sunday as Shareece Wright was sidelined, but he was forced to exit in the first quarter. The Redskins went on to win 16-10.

Ducasse, 28, made 78 appearances and 22 starts with three teams from 2010-15. Ducasse, whom the Jets chose in the second round of the 2010 draft, started a career-high 11 games as a member of the Bears last season. The Jets drafted Ducasse based on his raw potential, but he was never able to put it all together in New York. After being cut by the Ravens late in the offseason, Ducasse auditioned for the Lions, but didn’t get a call back. Now, he’s circling back to Baltimore.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Audition Vlad Ducasse, Others

Guards Vlad Ducasse and Josh LeRibeus joined cornerbacks Chimdi Chekwa and D’Joun Smith in trying out for the Lions on Friday, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link).

Vlad Ducasse

The most experienced of the four is the 28-year-old Ducasse, who combined for 78 appearances and 22 starts with three teams from 2010-15. Ducasse, whom the Jets chose in the second round of the 2010 draft, started a career-high 11 games as a member of the Bears last season.

Chekwa spent the first four years of his career with the Raiders, who grabbed him in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. The 28-year-old logged 32 appearances and four starts along the way, though he was out of action in 2015 after the Dolphins cut him from their injured reserve last September. Miami brought back Chekwa to compete for a roster spot over the summer, but he didn’t make it through their final cuts.

Both LeRibeus and Smith are recent third-rounders. LeRibeus went to Washington in 2012, and after accruing little playing time in his first few seasons, he piled up personal bests in appearances (16) and starts (11) last year. The Colts selected Smith a year ago, but he spent time on IR-DTR and only played in four games. Indianapolis then waived the 23-year-old this summer, and he worked out for the Saints on Thursday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Workout Notes: Cards, Lions, Browns, Bears

Friday’s workouts from around the NFL:

  • The Cardinals auditioned a pair of offensive linemen, guard Vlad Ducasse and tackle Garry Williams, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN (on Twitter). Ducasse is the more experienced of the two, having made 78 appearances and 22 starts since the Jets drafted him in the second round in 2010. Ducasse totaled a career-high 11 starts with Chicago last season. Williams has played far fewer games than Ducasse (41), but he has made just one fewer start (21). The 30-year-old’s latest action came in 2014, though, and he hasn’t appeared in more than one game in a season since 2012. Williams spent the first five years of his career with the Panthers.
  • The Lions tried out two offensive tackles – Sam Young and Laurence Gibson – and defensive tackle Cliff Matthews, tweets Caplan. Young, a sixth-round pick in 2010, has amassed a combined 58 appearances and 13 starts with the Cowboys, Bills and Jaguars. He suited up in all 16 games last season for the first time. The Falcons chose Matthews in the seventh round of the 2011 draft, and he ultimately appeared in 32 games with Atlanta from 2012-14.
  • The Browns worked out offensive lineman Mike Leidtke, as agent Brett Tessler tweets. Liedtke, an Illinois State product, auditioned for New Orleans last week.
  • Punter A.J. Hughes tried out for the Bears, according to Caplan (Twitter link).

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/6/16

A couple NFC South teams held large tryout sessions today, and the Saints ended up signing a player — veteran corner Sterling Moore — after he auditioned for them earlier today. Let’s take a look at some more news from the workout front:

  • Facing a kicker crisis, the Giants worked out placekickers Cody Parkey, Shayne Graham, and Aldrick Rosas today, reports Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com, though New York is unlikely to sign anyone from the group, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY (Twitter link). Per Raanan, the Giants also worked out a large group of offensive lineman that included Vlad Ducasse, Mackenzy Bernadeau.
  • The Patriots worked out the following defensive backs today (via Doug Kyed of NESN on Twitter): Mike Hilton, Trae Elston, Stefan McClure, JaCorey Shepherd, Kevin Short. New England was trying out players for the final spot on its practice squad, and Hilton ultimately earned the job.
  • The Jaguars worked out former Houston inside linebacker Reshard Cliett today, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The fast former South Florida standout was let go by Houston prior to the 53-man cut. Jacksonville also worked out linebacker Luke Rhodes today, but they didn’t offer him a deal right away, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
  • Former Cincinnati receiver Mekale McKay was part of a Buccaneers’ workout earlier today, and he’ll next try out for the Patriots on Wednesday, according to Auman (Twitter link).
  • The Packers auditioned defensive tackle Rodney Coe today, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Coe participated in training camp with the Cowboys.