Zane Gonzalez

Cardinals Cut Andre Smith, Bene Benwikere

The Cardinals made a host of moves Monday afternoon. Another of Patrick Peterson‘s top sidekicks is now out of the picture, with Arizona making the decision to waive cornerback Bene Benwikere.

Additionally, the Cards are cutting veteran tackle Andre Smith. They also placed Phil Dawson and linebacker Josh Bynes on IR and are elevating kicker Zane Gonzalez from the practice squad. The team announced the moves.

Smith’s inconsistency will end his Arizona tenure, per Steve Wilks (via ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss, on Twitter). He started eight games at right tackle for the Cardinals, including Sunday’s 45-10 loss to the Chargers, but has not played to the level he displayed during his earlier Bengals days. The 31-year-old edge blocker will head to the waiver wire, joining the less experienced Benwikere.

The Cards already parted ways with Jamar Taylor, acquired in hopes he could fill the Peterson-sidekick role the team has long had issues with, after Benwikere beat him out for that job. The young journeyman started eight Arizona games this season, intercepting one pass and making 51 tackles. Benwikere’s eight starts represent a career high in his five-season NFL run.

Dawson’s been dealing with a hip injury this season. It forced the 43-year-old kicker to miss a game earlier this month. The Cardinals’ kicker over the past two seasons, the 20-year veteran is a free agent after this season. He’s attempted a career-low eight field goals, making five. This will end Dawson’s least accurate season.

Previously going with rookie Matthew McCrane to fill in for Dawson, the Cardinals will now turn to Gonzalez. The Browns waived Gonzalez after a rough Week 2. The 2017 seventh-round pick has not kicked in a game since.

Despite being retained on a low-level deal, Bynes was playing ahead of both Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick this season. He made 75 tackles, registered two sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown in a standout season. Bynes is signed through the 2020 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Sign Zane Gonzalez To Practice Squad

Zane Gonzalez has found a new gig. The Cardinals announced that they’ve signed the free agent kicker to their practice squad.

The 2017 seventh-round pick out of Arizona State hasn’t had the strongest start to his career. He appeared in 16 games as a rookie with the Browns, connecting on 15 of his 20 field goal attempts and 25 of his 26 extra point tries. The 23-year-old struggled in his two games this season, and the Browns released him following a dreadful Week 2 where he missed a pair of field goals and two extra points.

Later reports indicated that the kicker was dealing with a slightly torn groin, and Gonzalez ended up earning a $35K injury settlement from Cleveland. The injury had a recovery timeline of three weeks, so Gonzalez is presumably good to go.

Of course, he’ll have a tough time cracking the Cardinals roster. With Phil Dawson expected to return from injury this week, the team moved on from Matt McCrane yesterday. The 43-year-old Dawson hasn’t done anything to lose his job this season, but Arizona could be eyeing Gonzalez for 2019 should the veteran decided to hang up his cleats.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/24/18

Today’s workout updates, all courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter):

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

  • T Andrew Lauderdale

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Zane Gonzalez To Begin Workouts Soon

Former Browns kicker Zane Gonzalez is nearing a return to health and should take part in auditions before the end of October, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

Gonzalez was waived following a dreadful Week 2 performance in which he missed two field goals, including a 53-yarder that would have sent the game to overtime, and two extra points, including one that would have given the Browns a one-point lead with less than 90 seconds remaining. Cleveland, of course, was searching for its first victory since the 2016 season. A seventh-round pick in 2017, Gonzalez converted 75% of his field goal attempts and 25-of-26 of his extra points during his rookie campaign.

Subsequent reports indicated Gonzalez was dealing with a slightly torn groin, so the Browns waived him with an injury designation. That injury had a recovery timeline of three weeks, and after meeting with a physician to confirm the diagnosis, Gonzalez received a $35K injury settlement from Cleveland, per Schefter. Gonzalez reportedly suffered the injury during pregame warmups in Week 2, but failed to alert the Browns’ coaching staff until halftime.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Steelers, Ravens

Prior to the Browns waiving kicker Zane Gonzalez, Hue Jackson did not know the second-year specialist was dealing with a groin injury. The third-year Browns HC (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk) said he knew “nothing about an injury whatsoever” and that no one from the Browns’ medical department told him Gonzalez was hurt, which could set up for an interesting situation as Cleveland pivots to another kicker. It hasn’t been reported that Gonzalez was waived with an injury designation, and Florio posits an injury grievance from Gonzalez could be in the cards. Gonzalez’s groin malady required an MRI, but he still attempted a 52-yard field goal in the final seconds Sunday. This information also doesn’t put Jackson in an especially positive light, given Gonzalez’s struggles on Sunday — ones that led directly to Cleveland’s 21-18 loss.

Shifting from a player the Browns just cut to one they opted not to draft, here’s the latest from the AFC North:

  • Sam Darnold did his best to not offer much regarding his draft-night mindset, but he did say he expected the Browns to take him at No. 1 due to the amount of time John Dorsey and Co. spent with him leading into the draft, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes. The Browns spent time with all four of the top quarterback prospects before narrowing their decision to Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. “We spent time with (Darnold) and his family, and obviously, every quarterback. We feel very comfortable with the guy that we selected in Baker, and I’m sure they do with him,” Jackson said. “He’s a fine prospect and is going to be a fine player. I think they got a good one, but we feel we have a really good one, too.”
  • The Ravens are not counting on having C.J. Mosley available for their Week 3 game against the Broncos, David Ginsburg of the Associated Press notes. The three-time Pro Bowl linebacker suffered a bruised left knee in Baltimore’s loss in Cincinnati. Rookie Kenny Young and Patrick Onwuasor were called to action in place of Mosley, who’s only missed two games (both in 2016) in his career. A fourth-round pick, Young looks like the Sunday starter, per Ginsburg.
  • Broncos rookie UDFA Phillip Lindsay sits third among the league’s rushing leaders going into Week 3’s Baltimore trip, and Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets the Colorado product narrowed his post-draft choices to the Broncos and Ravens. Lindsay (178 rushing yards on 6.1 per carry) is part of a two-rookie backfield in Denver. The Ravens opted to retain their status quo at running back, with Alex Collins, Kenneth Dixon and Javorius Allen back.
  • Allen is now on IR, though the Ravens would’ve preferred to keep both he and cornerback Maurice Canady on their active roster rather than shelve them for at least two months, Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic notes. Neither’s injury is a season-ending setback, and Dixon is a candidate to return from IR later in the season.
  • Le’Veon Bell‘s agent, Adisa Bakari, attended the Steelers‘ season-opening tie in Cleveland, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes the vibe between he and Steelers brass wasn’t particularly uncomfortable. Bakari also represents Tyrod Taylor. Nothing on the Bell front’s transpired in several days, and Pittsburgh’s bracing for a long absence.
  • Mike Tomlin expressed frustration with punter Jordan Berry, per The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly (on Twitter), and he may be on the verge of losing his job. The Steelers brought in free agent punters Jeff Locke and Justin Vogel for workouts today, Kaboly tweets. Berry’s been Pittsburgh’s punter since 2015, and the Steelers signed him to an extension in February.
  • With Joe Mixon out for a bit, the Bengals brought in a host of running backs for Tuesday workouts. Thomas Rawls, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Troymaine Pope and Matthew Dayes trekked to Cincinnati for auditions, Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan tweets.

Browns To Waive K Zane Gonzalez

As expected after the Browns’ signing of rookie kicker Greg Joseph, Zane Gonzalez will no longer be on the roster.

The Browns are waiving the second-year kicker, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports (on Twitter). Gonzalez endured a brutal afternoon in a narrow Browns loss to the Saints on Sunday and will head to the waiver wire, or potentially the Browns’ IR.

This transaction could involve an injury designation. Gonzalez has been kicking with a groin injury that required a Monday MRI. It’s not clear if an injury waiver will be required, which would send Gonzalez to Cleveland’s IR if he went unclaimed, but that’s possible.

Joseph will take over kicking duties in Cleveland in advance of the Browns’ Thursday-night game against the Jets. Gonzalez missed two field goals and an extra point in New Orleans and had his game-winning field goal attempt blocked in the rain against the Steelers in Week 1. He’s played a big role in why the Browns are 0-1-1 and not 2-0 to start the 2018 slate.

Browns To Sign K Greg Joseph

Zane Gonzalez‘s rough day in New Orleans has prompted the Browns to sign another kicker. They’re bringing rookie UDFA Greg Joseph aboard, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Joseph worked out for Cleveland prior to Week 1 and then again on Monday morning. The Florida Atlantic product landed with the Dolphins shortly after the draft but could not make their 53-man roster.

Indications coming out of Cleveland earlier today pointed to Gonzalez being replaced. The Browns also worked out Cairo Santos and Blair Walsh but will go with a far less experienced player. Gonzalez missed two field goals and two extra points in a three-point loss to the Saints. The Browns remain in search of their first win since Christmas Eve 2016 but have seen kicking woes potentially stop them from being 2-0 to start 2018.

Gonzalez, though, has been battling a groin injury, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter), helping to explain his recent trouble. Gonzalez will undergo an MRI Monday. This could lead to the Browns waiving him with an injury designation.

Joseph was Florida Atlantic’s kicker from 2014-17. He made 71.4 percent of his field goals in each of his final two Owls seasons and connected on 64 of 68 extra points as a senior.

The Browns chose Gonzalez in the seventh round out of Arizona State last year, and if he’s off the roster soon, this will mean yet another previous regime’s investment is out of the picture. John Dorsey‘s continued to go in that direction since taking over in Cleveland. Gonzalez made 15 of 20 field goals and 25 of 26 PATs as a rookie but struggled immensely against the Saints, essentially negating any progress he’d made in Year 1.

Browns Expected To Replace K Zane Gonzalez

Zane Gonzalez had a performance to forget against the Saints on Sunday, so the Browns are now auditioning free agent kickers Blair Walsh and Cairo Santos, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link) was the first to report Cleveland was expected to change kickers.

Gonzalez was dreadful in Week 2, as he missed two field goals, including a 53-yarder that would have sent the game to overtime, and two extra points, including one that would have given the Browns a one-point lead with less than 90 seconds remaining. Cleveland, of course, was searching for its first victory since the 2016 season. A seventh-round pick in 2017, Gonzalez converted 75% of his field goal attempts and 25-of-26 of his extra points during his rookie campaign.

Both Walsh and Santos come with their own problems. Walsh has dealt with accuracy issues throughout his career, and was cut by the Seahawks after hitting only 72.4% of his field goals in 2017. Santos has historically been the better kicker, but he’s dealt with a nagging groin injury for more than a year.

One name who has yet to be linked to the Browns is veteran Dan Bailey, who was released by the Cowboys at final cutdowns. Per Darren Wolfson of KSTP (Twitter link), Bailey has recently turned down offers from four clubs as he waits for the “right opportunity,” one that may include suiting up for a contender.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Waive Kicker Ross Martin

The Browns’ kicking job appears to belong to Zane Gonzalez. On Tuesday, the Browns waived kicker Ross Martin, along with five others.

Gonzalez nailed a 54-yard field goal in Thursday night’s preseason win over the Eagles, and that may have given him the leg up. Despite some misses in Sunday’s practice, Gonzalez edged out Martin.

Obviously, Gonzo kicked a 54-yarder” coach Hue Jackson said this week (via Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal). “That was huge. Today, he missed a couple. We will go back and watch the tape. I still think that he is in the lead.

In addition to Martin, wide receiver Evan Berry, defensive lineman Marcell Frazier, and offensive linemen Kevin Bowen and Geoff Gray. The Browns also released tight end Julian Allen from injured reserve.

Browns Notes: Mayfield, Dez, Gonzalez

This does not come as a great shock, but 2018 No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield will open the season as the Browns’ backup signal-caller, as Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald tweets (though head coach Hue Jackson wants to inform his team of his decision before making it official). It was always understood that Tyrod Taylor, whom the Browns acquired in an offseason trade with the Bills, would serve as the team’s starting quarterback at least until Mayfield is deemed ready, and we recently heard that Cleveland is allegedly open to extending Taylor’s contract (he is eligible for free agency at season’s end).

The decision to name Mayfield the No. 2 QB, then, is actually more about the battle between Mayfield and Drew Stanton — Jackson said last week that he was still undecided as to which player would serve as the backup — than the “battle” between Mayfield and Taylor. Stanton, the long-time second-stringer who signed a two-year pact with the Browns in March, will be the team’s No. 3 quarterback, assuming Cleveland elects to keep three QBs.

Now let’s take a look at several more notes out of Cleveland:

  • Josh Gordon will not play in the Browns’ preseason finale due to hamstring discomfort, but Jackson says the embattled wideout — who is expected to be ready for Week 1 — is “getting close,” per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (via Twitter).
  • In her weekly mailbag, Cabot says the Browns have not ruled out signing Dez Bryant, who recently rejected the team’s contract offer. She says Bryant liked the Browns and clearly the team had interest in him, so things could change at any time.
  • Cabot also suggests in her mailbag that Shon Coleman, who was given the first chance to succeed Joe Thomas at left tackle, could well be on the roster bubble.
  • Jackson says he “thinks” Zane Gonzalez is in the lead in the Browns’ kicking battle, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (via Twitter).