Washington Places Montez Sweat On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Montez Sweat was on track to return to practice Wednesday, but he will see his absence extend into Week 14 and beyond. The young pass rusher tested positive for COVID-19, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The 2019 first-round pick is unvaccinated, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter). This means he must isolate for a 10-day period. While this would give Sweat a chance of returning for Washington’s Week 15 game against the Eagles, the odds of that happening are slimmer because of his unvaccinated status. Sweat remains on IR.

Washington has been without Sweat since Week 8. The first-string defensive end had been recovering from a fractured jaw. The team has won four straight games, doing so despite Sweat’s injury and Chase Young being done for the season. Sweat obviously would stand to help the 6-6 squad down the stretch, but his return will have to wait a bit.

A first-round Washington draftee, Sweat has registered four sacks this season and has 20 for his career. The Mississippi State product has forced two fumbles in each of his three seasons.

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Texans To Waive LB Zach Cunningham

Made a healthy scratch in Week 13, Zach Cunningham is no longer with the Texans. The rebuilding team cut ties with the veteran linebacker Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Cunningham was scratched for disciplinary reasons Sunday, Sports Talk 790’s Aaron Wilson tweets, and he may soon have a new home. The former second-round pick will head to waivers. He would pass through to free agency if unclaimed by Thursday afternoon.

David Culley had disciplined Cunningham at multiple points this season, including recently due to showing up late for a COVID-19 test, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Cunningham, 27, will follow Phillip Lindsay as a post-trade deadline Texans cut.

The Texans had previously reduced Cunningham’s playing time, but he had been back to an every-down player in recent weeks. Houston used Cunningham on every defensive snap during his final three games with the team. After the Texans’ new regime shopped Cunningham ahead of the deadline, no trade materialized. The team will cut its losses and do so with a big dead-money hit.

Because of the four-year, $58MM extension the parties agreed to in 2020, the Texans will be hit with $12.8MM in dead money. As for Cunningham’s prospects of being claimed, he is due less than $300K in base salary for the rest of this season. No guarantees remain on the off-ball linebacker’s deal beyond 2021, increasing the likelihood he will not make it to free agency this year. Cunningham’s contract does contain eight-figure base salaries from 2022-24, which would make him a potential 2022 cut candidate — should another team claim him by Thursday.

This marks a swift change for the Vanderbilt product. Cunningham led the NFL with 164 tackles last season. Houston had he and Benardrick McKinney signed to big-ticket inside-‘backer deals exiting last season. Now, both are gone.

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Washington To Place Logan Thomas On IR

Although Logan Thomas‘ knee MRI produced some more encouraging results, Washington will still end its starting tight end’s season. Thomas is heading to IR, The Athletic’s Ben Standig tweets.

Washington initially feared Thomas suffered a torn ACL during Sunday’s game in Las Vegas, but Ron Rivera said earlier this week the converted quarterback had a chance to play again this season. That is no longer the case. Because Washington placed Thomas on IR earlier this season, this second such designation means he cannot play again until the 2022 campaign.

A hamstring injury sidelined Thomas earlier this season. He ended up playing in just six games for the resurgent WFT. Fortunately for Thomas, he locked in some guaranteed money through his July extension. Washington has the 30-year-old pass catcher under contract through 2024, via the three-year, $24MM deal.

Thomas provided a key auxiliary target for Alex Smith and Co. last season, when he caught 72 passes for 670 yards and six touchdowns. He could not be the same kind of threat this year, with injuries limiting the eighth-year player to 18 catches and 196 yards. Thomas did score a touchdown — his third this season — in Washington’s 17-15 win over the Raiders on Sunday.

Thomas’ primary backup, Ricky Seals-Jones, has not played since Week 10. Seals-Jones leads the WFT’s tight ends with 23 catches for 230 yards this season.

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Seahawks’ Jamal Adams Done For Season

Less than a year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum, Jamal Adams is set for a similar rehab odyssey in 2022. The Seahawks safety is out for the season after his second major left shoulder injury in 11 months, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

In addition to another labrum tear, Adams sustained significant damage in that left shoulder during Seattle’s Week 13 win over San Francisco. He will undergo surgery soon. While the high-priced defender is expected to recover fully by the start of next season, this certainly marks another blow for a Seahawks slate that has skidded off track.

Adams went down during the second quarter of the Seahawks’ 30-23 win. Fourth-year UDFA Ryan Neal replaced him and will be in line to do so again when the Seahawks face the Texans this week. Adams had not missed a game this season.

The Seahawks gave the former Jets top-10 pick a four-year, $70MM extension this summer. He has not been used to rush the passer in the same capacity he was in the recent past. After setting a safety record with 9.5 sacks in 2020, Adams will finish his second Seahawks season with zero. He did record multiple interceptions for the first time in his career, grabbing two, and made 87 tackles in 12 games this year.

Adams’ absence stands to weaken a Seahawks defense and potentially impact the Jets’ 2022 draft. The teams’ summer 2020 trade sent Seattle’s first-round picks in 2021 and ’22 to New York. While the Seahawks are not yet out of the running for a wild-card spot, their pick could end up in the top 10 for the first time since 2010.

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FA DE Aldon Smith Arrested

Aldon Smith is in trouble once again. According to a report from TMZ.com, the former Pro Bowler was arrested on Monday and booked on a felony charge of DUI causing injury.

According to the report, records show that Smith was booked into a Northern California jail on Monday evening. The 32-year-old’s bail was set at $50K, and he’s scheduled for a court hearing on Wednesday.

The former first-round pick battled legal issues (including multiple DUI arrests) during his first NFL run and during his ensuing four-plus-year hiatus. The Cowboys ended Smith’s exile from the NFL in 2020, and the defensive end finished the season with 48 tackles and five sacks in 16 starts. He caught on with the Seahawks back in April, but that signing was followed by another arrest, this time on a second-degree battery charge.

Seattle ended up cutting Smith in August, and he’s remained a free agent since that time. The player has been arrested twice since his reinstatement from the NFL, and while he seemed to be on the right track in 2020, his NFL future is once again in doubt.

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NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Darnold, Cowboys

Imagine a loaded Buccaneers offense with…Jonathan Taylor at running back. It could have been a possibility, as the Buccaneers had their eye on the Wisconsin product during the 2020 draft, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Bucs were armed with the No. 14 heading into that draft, and Taylor was on the “short list” of players the organization was considering with that selection. The team ended up with their preferred prospect, offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, and they traded up to No. 13 to make sure they got the lineman. However, if Wirfs was off the board at that point in the draft, then Tampa Bay likely would have pivoted to Taylor, who didn’t hear his name come off the board until midway through the second round.

“I loved him,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said recently (via Schefter). “He could do it all, and it was just a matter of time — playing behind that offensive line — that he was going to be the force that he is.”

Taylor has obviously had a standout season with the Colts, leading the league with 1,348 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns (naturally, he’s also leading the NFL with 1,684 yards from scrimmage and 18 total scores). Of course, things have worked out fine for the Buccaneers. Wirfs has started all 28 of his career games, while the duo of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones were more than capable during Tampa Bay’s 2020 Super Bowl run.

Some more notes out of the NFC…

  • Sam Darnold seems to be out of the picture in Carolina, but the Panthers still owe the quarterback $18.8MM in guaranteed money in 2022. The team already paid Denver $7MM to inherit Teddy Bridgewater, leaving the organization with $17MM in dead cap. As a result, Joseph Person of The Athletic believes Darnold will stick around as a high-priced backup vs. being involved in a salary dump. Person specifically cites a 2017 trade where the Texans attached a second-round pick to Brock Osweiler to dump his salary on Cleveland; league sources tell the reporter that “an Osweiler-type trade involving Darnold is unlikely.”
  • Cowboys senior defensive assistant George Edwards is a candidate for the head coaching job at his alma mater, Duke University, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). Edwards was a four-year player for Duke, and he served as an assistant on the Duke staff way back in 1996. He’s had a long coaching career since that time, including a recent six-year stint as the Vikings defensive coordinator. Edwards has been a senior defensive assistant with the Cowboys since 2020. Duke parted ways with David Cutcliffe last month.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com recently tweeted the 10 highest salary cap hits for 2022, and the top three spots all belong to the NFC. Falcons QB Matt Ryan and his $48.7MM cap hit leads the way, following by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers at $46.1MM and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins at $45MM. Other NFC players on the list include Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (sixth, $37MM), Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (ninth, $34.5MM), and Lions QB Jared Goff (10th, $31.2MM).

Bills Waive OL Bobby Hart

Bobby Hart‘s stint with the Bills has already come to an end. After joining Buffalo late last month, the team waived the veteran offensive lineman today, per Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).

Hart has managed to stick in the NFL for seven seasons despite being selected in the seventh round of the 2015 draft. The lineman started 21 games for the Giants between 2015 and 2017. He later started 45 games (out of 46 appearances) for the Bengals between 2018 and 2020.

The Bengals dropped Hart in March and he’s been making the rounds ever since, spending time with the practice squads of the Bills and Dolphins. The Titans also picked him up for a bit, using him in three games this year. He joined the Bills when Spencer Brown was placed on reserve/COVID-19 list, and it always sounded like his stint in Buffalo was going to be temporary. Ultimately, Hart’s time with the Bills ended without him appearing in a game.

To fill the open spot on the roster, the Bills activated offensive tackle Tommy Doyle off the reserve/COVID-19 list (via Wilson on Twitter). The rookie fifth-round pick out of Miami (OH) has seen time in six games this season, although he’s only played on 15 offensive snaps.

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LB Will Compton To Sign With Raiders

It sounds like Will Compton has found his next gig. The free agent linebacker announced on Twitter that he’s signing with the Raiders.

We learned earlier today that the 32-year-old was generating interest from multiple teams and a signing was imminent. Compton — the co-host of Barstool Sports’ “Bussin’ With The Boys,” — has yet to play in 2021, but now he’ll have an opportunity to revive his career in Las Vegas. The team is currently dealing with minor injuries throughout their linebackers depth chart, and that includes starters Denzel Perryman and Cory Littleton. As a result, Compton could have an opportunity to contribute ASAP.

The linebacker played for the Raiders during the 2019 season, collecting 41 tackles in nine games (four starts). In 2020, he returned to the Titans for his second stint in Nashville, collecting 18 stops across 12 appearances.

Compton has appeared in 90 games over the course of his NFL career, including 40 starts. His most significant action came early in his career with Washington. From 2013 through 2017, he started in 33 of his 57 games. Compton’s on-field career has tailed off somewhat since a Lisfranc injury capped his ’17 early.

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Saints Waive Kenny Stills

The Saints have released wide receiver Kenny Stills and defensive tackle Malcolm Roach, per the league’s transactions wire. Meanwhile, the Saints have re-signed wide receiver Kevin White to their practice squad.

Stills, 29, has been on and off the Saints roster this year. So far this season, he’s got five catches for 64 yards across ten games. Of course, that’s a far cry from his early work in New Orleans, which included 931 yards in 2014, his second year as a pro.

It’s a bit of a surprise that the Saints would be bailing on receivers at this point. We learned yesterday that Deonte Harris would miss the next three games while serving a suspension, and former All-Pro Michael Thomas has already been ruled out for the season. Tre’Quan Smith also missed time due to injury, and New Orleans hasn’t played with Alvin Kamara since Week 9.

Roach joined the Saints as an undrafted free agent out of Texas in 2020, and he collected 16 tackles in nine games as a rook. This year, he’s started two of his six games while compiling seven tackles and one interception. The 23-year-old has only appeared in one game for New Orleans since Week 5. After recently spending time on IR, the defensive tackle was designated to return earlier this week.

White, the seventh-overall pick in the 2015 draft, battled injuries throughout his Bears tenure and later caught on with the Cardinals and 49ers. He managed to get into three games with San Francisco last season without recording a reception, and he ended up getting cut by the squad in August. He ultimately caught on with New Orleans, and he ended up seeing time in five games (one start) for his new squad. The 29-year-old contributed one 38-yard reception during his time with the Saints, and he ultimately saw more special teams snaps than offensive snaps. He was cut by the team last week.

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Will Compton Drawing Interest

Linebacker Will Compton is drawing interest from multiple teams and could sign a deal as soon as today, according to a source who spoke with Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Compton — the co-host of Barstool Sports’ “Bussin’ With The Boys,” — has yet to play in 2021.

[RELATED: Titans Designate J. Jones For Return]

Compton, 32, has appeared in 90 games over the course of his NFL career, including 40 starts. In 2020, he returned to the Titans for his second stint in Nashville, collecting 18 stops across 12 appearances. His most significant action came early in his career with Washington. From 2013 through 2017, he started in 33 of his 57 games. Compton’s on-field career has tailed off somewhat since a Lisfranc injury capped his ’17 early.

In other Titans-related news, Julio Jones has been designated for return from injured reserve. Jones, on his way back from a hamstring injury, has 21 catches for 336 yards so far this year. The legendary wide receiver could come back as soon as this Sunday to face the Jaguars.

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