49ers Re-Sign WR/TE Jordan Matthews, Waive WR Bennie Fowler

Jordan Matthews has found his next team. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports (via Twitter) that the veteran wideout (and hopeful tight end) is signing with the 49ers. The team has waived wideout Bennie Fowler to make room on the roster (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle on Twitter).

Matthews has bounced on and off the 49ers roster since 2019, although that’s only resulted in three appearances with the organization. Now, the veteran is hoping to reinvent himself as a tight end; the 6-foot-3 target has added 30 pounds this offseason, which should give him the weight to play the position. Matthews also worked out with teammate (and fellow tight end) George Kittle.

Matthews, a former second-round pick, had at least 800 receiving yards in each of his first three NFL seasons, but he’s struggled to match that production over the past few years. Since 2017, Matthews has hauled in only 49 receptions for 615 yards and three scores. The 29-year-old is hoping the position change will help jump start his career.

We heard that a handful of teams had their eye on the veteran, but the only squad that had been definitively connected to Matthews were the Titans and Jets. Instead of joining the AFC, Matthews will be sticking in San Francisco, and he’ll have a good opportunity to make the roster behind Kittle. The veteran will be competing with Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley, MyCole Pruitt, and Josh Pederson for snaps.

Fowler, 30, joined the 49ers back in May. The wideout has appeared in 68 career games, hauling in 97 receptions for 1,101 yards and six touchdowns. He saw time in five games for the Saints in 2020, catching two passes for 11 yards.

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Titans Sign TE Luke Stocker

Luke Stocker is heading back to Tennessee. The Titans have signed the veteran tight end, reports Jim Wyatt of the team’s website (via Twitter). The team also waived defensive back Quenton Meeks and placed offensive lineman Brandon Kemp on injured reserve.

This is a bit of a homecoming for Stocker; the tight end went to college at Tennessee and played for the Titans for two seasons. The veteran has managed to put together a 10-year NFL career, including the past two with the Falcons. Known more for his blocking prowess (Stocker also has experience playing fullback), the veteran has hauled in 83 receptions for 693 yards and five touchdowns during his career.

After losing Jonnu Smith in free agency, the Titans have been looking for some extra depth behind presumed starter Anthony Firkser. Stocker will compete with the likes of Geoff Swaim, Jared Pinkney, Tommy Hudson, and Miller Forristall for a roster spot.

Meeks, a 2018 undrafted free agent out of Stanford, has collected eight tackles in 14 career games. After getting waived by the Jaguars earlier this offseason, he signed with the Titans. Kemp joined the Titans as an undrafted free agent out of Valdosta State in 2020. The offensive lineman reportedly suffered a shoulder injury during practice this week.

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Ravens Sign DE Justin Houston

9:52am: Houston has indeed joined the Ravens. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the veteran pass rusher is signing with Baltimore. It will be a one-year deal worth up to $4MM for the veteran, and Schefter reiterates that Houston turned down higher-paying offers from rival teams. Meanwhile, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets that Houston will earn a $1.075MM base salary and a $1MM signing bonus, and there’s an opportunity to ear another ~$2MM via Pro Bowl and sack incentives.

9:24am: Justin Houston is zeroing in on a suitor. Jason La Canfora reports (via Twitter) that the veteran defensive lineman recently reached out to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh “to convey a willingness to come to Baltimore.”

As La Canfora notes, the Ravens are Houston’s top choice, and it sounds like he’s willing to take a discount to make it happen. Houston is willing to sign for “considerably less than market,” and the player’s camp is ready to work with the organization with the understanding that the front office is dealing with cap constraints. As La Canfora tweets, the player had more lucrative offers on the table, but he ultimately turned down contracts from his many suitors.

We learned earlier this week that the pass rusher had a long list of potential suitors, with the Colts and Steelers mentioned as potential landing spots. Given Houston’s track record and newfound ability to stay healthy, it makes sense that he still has a market. The 32-year-old totaled 19 sacks in two Colts seasons, playing out a two-year, $23MM deal. His history with knee trouble notwithstanding, Houston did not miss a game as a Colt. Houston missed 26 games during his eight years with the Chiefs, but he was still plenty productive, collecting 78.5 sacks (including a 22-sack campaign in 2014).

The Ravens certainly have a need for a veteran pass rusher. The team lost Matt Judon, who led the 2020 squad with six sacks, in free agency, and the organization also lost the likes of Yannick Ngakoue and Jihad Ward.

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Packers WR Randall Cobb Reworks Contract

Randall Cobb is back in Green Bay, and the veteran receiver is taking a pay cut. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that Cobb has restructured his contract.

Specifically, Cobb and the Packers converted $4.075MM of the player’s $5.25MM salary into a signing bonus. The team also added a 2023 void year to the contract, thus dropping Cobb’s 2021 cap hit to $2.68MM. While this move will provide the organization with some much-needed breathing room this season, it will also exacerbate the team’s future cap concerns.

Earlier this week, Cobb was traded back to Green Bay, where he previously played eight seasons for the Packers. Green Bay gave up a 2022 sixth-round pick to the Texans, and Houston also picked up $3MM of Cobb’s salary in 2021 (providing the organization with even more financial relief). Cobb is currently playing on a three-year, $27MM deal that he inked with Houston.

The trade came at the request/demand of MVP Aaron Rodgers, who agreed to return to the Packers earlier this week. Without Rodgers’ insistence, it’s unlikely that this trade would have ever materialized. Cobb never played for Matt LaFleur and third-round wide receiver Amari Rodgers was already ticketed for much of the team’s slot work. Still, Rodgers wanted his old pal back and the Packers weren’t about to say no to him, or Cobb’s wealth of experience. Now, Cobb will join Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Devin Funchess, and the other A. Rodgers on the WR depth chart.

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Raiders’ Theo Riddick Retires From NFL

Theo Riddick is calling it a career. On Friday, the Raiders placed the tailback on the reserved/retired list, marking the end of his NFL run.

Riddick, 30, played a small role in six Raiders games last season. The former Lions outlet option totaled 57 yards on eleven touches. That came after a year Riddick spent on the Broncos’ IR list.

Riddick made a lot of noise with Detroit from 2013-18, mostly as a pass-catching specialist and check down artist for Matthew Stafford. Before his retirement, he was set to slot somewhere behind Kenyan Drake and Josh Jacobs on the Raiders’ depth chart.

Riddick’s best season came in 2015, when he had 697 yards through the air to the delight of Lions fans and fantasy football owners. However, he hasn’t made much of a statistical impact since leaving the Motor City. We here at PFR wish him the best in retirement.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 7/30/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tennessee Titans

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Colts’ Carson Wentz To Miss Time

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz has suffered a foot injury that will sideline him for an undetermined period of time (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo). Garafolo doesn’t sense that the Colts are panicking about it, but it’s definitely a situation to watch as the season draws near. 

He’s with the docs, trying to figure what out the process is,” offensive coordinator Marcus Brady said on Friday (via ESPN.com). “Still evaluating what the next move is, how bad it is. Then we’ll go from there.”

It’s a frustrating setback for Wentz, who is looking to reboot his career under old pal Frank Reich. He is/was slated to be the Week 1 starter for the Colts and they no longer have Jacoby Brissett as a Plan B. Beyond Wentz, the Colts have second-year QB Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger — needless to say, they don’t offer the same level of experience or upside.

Wentz will hope for a speedy recovery as he looks to regain his 2017 Pro Bowl form. He was a far cry from that in his final year with the Eagles, before ceding the job to Jalen Hurts. Hurts went on to start in four of his 15 appearances, completing 52% of his passes for 1,061 yards, six touchdowns, and four interceptions. He also added another 354 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 63 carries, showcasing better mobility than the former No. 2 overall pick.

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Jets’ Jarrad Davis Considered Retirement

Jarrad Davis joined the Jets earlier this year on a one-year, $5.5MM deal. But, according to the outside linebacker, that almost didn’t happen. 

I contemplated walking away,” Davis said (via Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press). “I really did, man. But at the end of the day, like, I wouldn’t have felt right doing something else, you know?

Davis was the No. 21 overall pick in 2017 but didn’t quite live up to his draft status. Then he saw his role — and confidence — reduced under then-Lions head coach Matt Patricia. After starting at least eleven games in each of his first three pro seasons, Patricia started him just four times in 2020. Davis played on less than 30% of the defensive snaps and pondered life without football.

The battle’s up here,” Davis said, pointing to his head. “And I was losing that battle every single day.”

Now he says he feels rejuvenated under new Jets coach Robert Saleh and his 4-3 defense. Davis fits in well as a 4-3 OLB, giving him a chance to show what made him such a highly-valued prospect just a few short years ago.

To date, he has 45 games to his credit across four years in Detroit. His most productive year came in 2018 when he started all 16 games and finished with 100 tackles, six sacks, and five passes defended.

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Browns Hire Bob Quinn

The Browns have hired former Lions GM Bob Quinn as a Senior Consultant (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Quinn will act as a “sounding board” for GM Andrew Berry as he returns to football for the first time since November of last year. 

Quinn, a longtime scout/exec for the Patriots, was hired as the Lions’ GM in January of 2016. After inheriting Jim Caldwell, he made his first official head-coaching hire in Matt Patricia.

The Lions fired Quinn and Patricia shortly after their blowout Thanksgiving loss. It was a trying year for the Lions — they missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season and had just dropped back-to-back games against the Panthers and Texans in embarrassing fashion. And, in the (almost) three years leading up to Quinn’s firing, they posted a 13-29-1 record.

Despite all of that, some believed that Quinn would still garner serious consideration in the early 2021 GM cycle. That didn’t happen, so he’ll spend the year with the Browns’ FO.

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Giants Work Out OL Evan Boehm

The Giants are looking for some offensive line help. Veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson reports (via Twitter) that the team recently met with veteran offensive lineman Evan Boehm.

Boehm has played both center and offensive guard throughout his career, a pair of positions that appear to be accounted for on the Giants. Nick Gates and Jonotthan Harrison lead the depth chart at center, while Shane Lemieux and Will Hernandez are in line to start at guard. However, Harrison is currently on the team’s active/PUP list, and Lemieux was carted off the field during Giants practice today. While it was apparent that the 25-year-old suffered some kind of knee injury, we haven’t learned of an official diagnosis, and there’s a chance he could be sidelined for some time.

So, it appears that the Giants are hunting for some reinforcement at the position, even if it’s temporary. Boehm would certainly be a worthy candidate despite his journeyman status. The offensive lineman has spent time with six different teams through five seasons, but he’s also managed to see time in 55 career games (21 starts). That included a 2019 campaign where he started eight of his 13 games for the Dolphins.

The 27-year-old joined the Bills last offseason, and he spent the first month-plus of the season on the team’s practice squad. He later caught on with the Jaguars practice squad, where he’d remain for the rest of the season.

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