Zeke Motta

Zeke Motta Suspended Two Games

The NFL has suspended free agent safety Zeke Motta for two games, reports Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s currently unclear why the league suspended the 25-year-old.

Motta – a seventh-round pick of the Falcons in 2013 – hasn’t seen action since his rookie season, when he posted 16 tackles in 10 games before suffering a fractured C1 veterbra. He missed all of last season and the Falcons waived him with a failed physical designation this past April.


Minor Moves: Thursday

We’ll round up today’s minor transactions from around the NFL in this space, with any additional moves listed at the top of the page throughout the afternoon and evening:

  • Raiders defensive back Neiko Thorpe has signed his exclusive right free agent tender, placing him back under contract, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

Earlier updates:

  • The Bengals have brought back former backup signal-caller Josh Johnson, signing him to a new contract today, according to the team (Twitter link). Johnson, who visited Cincinnati today, spent time with the 49ers in 2014 after serving as Andy Dalton‘s backup for the Bengals in 2013.
  • Zeke Motta, a 2013 seventh-rounder who played sparingly for the Falcons in his rookie year, was cut by Atlanta today, according to a team release. Matta missed the entire 2014 campaign due to a neck injury, and will have to pass through waivers before becoming a free agent.
  • Safety Anthony Walters, who played in 37 regular season contests during four seasons with the Bears, has been cut, the team announced today (via Twitter). Walters had primarily contributed on special teams for Chicago. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link) wonders if Walters’ release opens up the door for the team to re-sign Danny McCray, which had been previously considered.
  • After adding Mike Kafka to their roster, the Vikings have parted ways with another quarterback, formally announcing that they’ve waived Pat Devlin. The ex-Dolphin had signed a futures contract with Minnesota after spending some time on the team’s practice squad in 2014.
  • Having visited Minnesota and Tampa Bay this week, tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi will be signing with the Buccaneers, reports Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune (via Twitter). Ogbuehi, who spent time on the practice squads for the Ravens and Browns during the 2014 season, is getting a two-year deal, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Former Miami Hurricanes linebacker Shayon Green has signed with the Steelers, according to PR rep Burt Lauten (via Twitter).

PUP, IR-DTR Players Soon Eligible To Practice

Week 6 of the NFL season will come to an end after Monday night’s game between the 49ers and Rams, and when teams begin preparing for Week 7, many of those clubs may be welcoming some players back to practice. Six weeks into the NFL season, players who were placed on the physically unable to perform list or the injured reserve list with the designation to return prior to Week 1’s games will be eligible to return to practice.

Of course, just because those players are able to return to the practice field doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be healthy enough to do so. Players on the PUP list have a five-week window to begin practicing. Once they return to practice, they have three weeks to be added to their respective teams’ active rosters. In other words, a player on the PUP list could theoretically return for his team’s Week 7 game, or could return as late as for his team’s Week 15 contest. If the player doesn’t return to practice or game action in time, he’ll revert to season-ending injured reserve.

Here are the players currently on the physically unable to perform list who can begin practicing as soon as next week:

Players who began the season on the PUP list didn’t participate in any preseason practices, but that’s not the case for players on the injured reserve list with the designation to return. Teams can use this spot on one player per season, placing him on the injured reserve list without necessarily ruling him out for the season. As we explained in an earlier post, players given this designation can begin practicing after six weeks and can return after eight weeks.

That means that players who were placed on IR-DTR prior to Week 1 can begin practicing next week. A player who was placed on IR-DTR after – for instance – Week 2 will have to wait another two weeks to return to practice.

Here’s the list of players currently on IR-DTR who can begin practicing as soon as next week:

Extra Points: Motta, Williams, West, Lewis-Moore, Steen

“There appears to be some doubt about Atlanta Falcons safety Zeke Motta‘s playing status this season as he continues to recover from neck surgery,” writes ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. Motta underwent surgery in December to repair a cervical fracture, but he hasn’t been medically cleared and won’t be participating in the team’s offseason program. William Moore is entrenched at one safety spot, but with Motta out of the picture, that leaves Dwight Lowery, Kemal Ishmael and rookie fifth-rounder Dez Southward battling for the other position.

More from around the league. . .

  • Tom Crabtree has been released by the Buccaneers, as reported by. . .Tom Crabtree, formerly of the Buccaneers (via Twitter).
  • Ryan Williams‘ workout for the Cowboys wasn’t your run-of-the-mill look-see, tweets Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram, as 24 scouts, coaches and staff were watching.
  • Browns rookie running back Terrance West confirmed what most suspected immediately following his third-round selection (94th overall) — the Ravens texted his agent their intention to draft him 99th overall. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer shared the information (via Twitter).
  • Ravens 2013 sixth-rounder Kapron Lewis-Moore, who missed last season while recovering from a torn ACL, is participating in the team’s rookie minicamp, and Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun tweets that the big defensive lineman looks impressive.
  • Undrafted free agent guard Anthony Steen of Alabama has a realistic chance of making the Cardinals, believes Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com.
  • Offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb tried out for the Panthers, but was not immediately extended a contract, according to Aaron Wilson at National Football Post. Webb was a much-maligned three-year starter for the Bears (2010-12) before appearing in eight games (one start) for the Vikings last year.
  • Draftees are signing sooner than ever, writes BuffaloBills.com’s Chris Brown, who explains why: “Even though the salary cap went up more than eight percent, there is a freeze on signing bonuses so all this year’s picks will get the same signing bonus as the players did last year who were taken in their draft slot. . .The reason why bonuses are staying flat is because teams borrowed money from future rookie pools (2012, 2013) after the lockout in 2011 to make sure that rookies that year wouldn’t be paid less than the rookies from 2010 prior to the readjustment in salary cap and the rookie wage scale. . .So essentially the only increases the 2014 draft class is seeing is in their base salaries.”