NFL Workout Updates: 9/19/17

Today’s workout updates:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Saints Work Out Will Beatty, Jaye Howard

The Saints auditioned edge rusher Lamarr Houston earlier today, but he wasn’t the only notable NFL veteran to work out for New Orleans today. Here’s who the Saints looked at on Tuesday, according to Tom Pelissero of (all Twitter links), Adam Caplan (Twitter links), and Howard Balzer (all Twitter links):

Beatty is perhaps the most high-profile name of the bunch, as the veteran offensive tackle 63 career starts under his belt (all for the Giants). Having served as a backup last season, Beatty would presumably play right tackle for the Saints, who are down to Senio Kelemete on the right side following starter Zach Strief‘s MCL sprain. Ola, too, would give New Orleans depth along their front five, although he doesn’t offer nearly the experience that does Beatty (only 19 starts).Ricky Jean-Francois (Vertical)

As Caplan noted, the Saints essentially worked out the majority of the top free agents on the defensive side of the ball, and that comes as no surprise. Despite throwing free agent funds and draft picks at its defense, New Orleans ranks dead last in yards, 31st in scoring, and 31st in DVOA through two weeks.

Douzable, Howard, Jean-Francois, Johnson, and Langford have all served as quality starters in the very recent future, and Douzable (49ers), Howard (Bears), and Jean-Francois (Packers) have each signed contracts earlier this offseason only to be released later. Wilson, meanwhile, repeatedly bounced on-and-off the Bears’ roster a year ago, and also has a previous stint in New Orleans.

Per Pelissero, the Saints’ Week 4 contest in London is a factor in the club working out such a long list of players right now. Given that New Orleans won’t have much time to audition veterans in the coming weeks, the team will likely update its emergency list now before heading across the pond.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/19/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

  • Signed: S Jameill Showers
  • Released: G Nate Theaker

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: WR Cyril Grayson Jr.
  • Released: WR Fred Brown

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFLPA Re-Elects DeMaurice Smith

The NFLPA has re-elected DeMaurice Smith as executive director by a 14-0 vote, according to Jim Trotter of (Twitter links). Smith’s new term runs thorough 2021 and is concurrent with the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement.DeMaurice Smith (vertical)

Civil rights lawyer Cyrus Mehri had been expected to contend for the top union job, but Smith easily won re-election with an uncontested vote. As such, Smith will lead negotiations as the NFL and the NFLPA attempt to hammer out a new agreement when the current CBA expires in three-plus years.

Smith’s re-election doesn’t necessarily mean labor peace is on the horizon, however. Indeed, reports have indicated the union is preparing for some sort of work stoppage (either via a lockout or strike), while Smith himself has indicated that he’s not willing to extend the CBA.

“I don’t know what [Roger Goodell is] thinking when he says extension,” said Smith. “But there’s not gonna be an extension of the CBA. If the owners are interested in talking about issues that are currently covered by the CBA or issues that aren’t currently covered by the CBA and they want to have a renegotiation on some of those issues, we’ll have a renegotiation of those issues. But there’s not going to be a 2025 [or] 2027 addendum to the CBA that says, ‘We’re good with this.’”

Smith, who was also a unanimous selection in 2009, reportedly benefited from a revamped selection process that prevented a multitude of candidates from joining the race.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Packers WR Jordy Nelson

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson is “50-50” to play in the Packers’ Week 3 game against the Bengals as he deals with a quad strain, according to Adam Schefter of (Twitter link). As Rob Demovsky of reported Monday, Green Bay doesn’t believe Nelson’s injury is serious, but the veteran pass-catcher could still be sidelined for at least one week.Jordy Nelson

Fellow wideout pass-catcher Randall Cobb is expected to be available on Sunday after suffering a minor shoulder injury last week, but the Packers may still need to find another receiving option if Nelson can’t go. In Week 2, that receiver was Geronimo Allison, who played 80% of Green Bay’s offensive snaps and posted three receptions for 24 yards in Nelson’s absence. Trevor Davis also saw an increase in playtime (22% of snaps) and managed one catch for nine yards.

The Packers currently have six receivers on their roster, so even if Nelson is out for Week 3, the club probably won’t need to add another pass-catcher (although practice squaders Michael Clark and DeAngelo Yancey could be candidates for promotion). Cobb, Davante Adams, Allison, Davis, and Jeff Janis will likely comprise Aaron Rodgers‘ weapons on Sunday if Nelson cannot play.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Working Out DE Howard Jones

The Titans worked out free agent defensive end Howard Jones on Tuesday, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).Howard Jones

Jones, 27, hasn’t drawn much interest since being non-tendered by the Buccaneers earlier this year, although the Jets have auditioned him twice, including once last week. That’s perhaps unsurprising given that Jones is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in November of 2016. Jones wasn’t a major contributor in eight games last season before going down, but he did manage five sacks in a rotational role for Tampa Bay in 2015.

Given that both the Titans and Jets run 3-4 schemes, Jones may be viewed primarily as a outside linebacker around the NFL. Tennessee currently boasts two excellent starting edge rushers in Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, while Erik Walden and Aaron Wallace are the club’s top reserves. Former second-round pick Kevin Dodd and rookie Josh Carraway are also on the Titans’ roster, but both have been inactive for Tennessee’s first two games.

In addition to Jones, the Titans also auditioned linebackers worked out for Titans today along with Frank Beltre, Ken Ekanem, Tony Washington, and defensive end Praise Martin-Oguike, tweets Wilson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/19/17

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Seattle Seahawks

Texans To Sign CB Johnthan Banks

The Texans are expected to sign free agent cornerback Johnthan Banks, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).Johnthan Banks (vertical)

Banks was one of several corners worked out by Houston today, a list that also included Stanley Jean-BaptisteJosh ThorntonCorey White, and B.W. Webb. The Texans are increasingly thin at defensive back following an MCL sprain to Kevin Johnson that will keep him sidelined for four-to-six weeks. While Houston recently signed Marcus Burley to serve as depth behind starters Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, the club was still looking for quality options.

It’s not clear that Banks will be able to offer much beyond backup reps, but he does come with the draft pedigree of a former second-round pick. However, Banks — who turns 28 years old in a few weeks — has never lived up to that billing, and he’s acted as a reserve over the past two seasons after starting 30 games for the Buccaneers from 2013-14. Last season, Banks ended up playing for three clubs (Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Chicago), but never saw regular action.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Audition LB Jonathan Freeny

The Texans worked out free agent linebacker Jonathan Freeny on Tuesday, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.Jonathan Freeny

Freeny, a five-year NFL veteran, started his career as a special teams player in Miami, but his most notable time came with the Patriots from 2015-16. During that time, Freeny appeared in 18 games and started 11 contests before going down with a shoulder injury last October.

Despite agreeing to a two-year extension prior to last season, Freeny was released during final cutdowns earlier this month. He’s generated interest around the NFL, however, as the Giants and Bears have also worked out Freeny over the past several weeks.

On the hunt for linebacker depth following Brian Cushing‘s 10-game PED suspension, the Texans also auditioned former Vikings linebacker Audie Cole today. Houston is currently starting Benardrick McKinney and second-round rookie Zach Cunningham at inside linebacker, while Brian Peters and undrafted rookie Dylan Cole are the club’s backups.

The Texans also took at look at linebacker Josh Mauga and cornerbacks Johnthan Banks, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Josh Thornton, Corey White, and B.W. Webb, as Wilson writes in a separate piece.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Acquire LB Stephone Anthony

The Dolphins have acquired linebacker Stephone Anthony from the Saints, Miami announced today. New Orleans will receive a 2018 fifth-round pick from the Dolphins, tweets Ian Rapoport of Anthony (Vertical)

Veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons was dealt a team suspension earlier today after leaving the Dolphins over the weekend, so the club was on the hunt for help at the second level of its defense. Anthony, who can be controlled through the 2019 season via the fifth-year option, will give Miami reinforcements at linebacker for the remainder of the season and also for the long haul.

Thought to be a candidate for release prior to the regular season, Anthony has been bandied about as a trade candidate for some time. The Saints simply have too many linebackers on their roster, and the club’s starting jobs went to free agent acquisitions Manti Te’o and A.J. Klein and third-round rookie Alex Anzalone. With Craig RobertsonMichael Mauti, and Nathan Stupar also available in reserve, New Orleans had no place for Anthony.

Anthony, 25, was a full-time starter in 2015 after entering the league as a first-round selection out of Clemson. But his playing time dwindled last season, as he started only three games and played on just 133 defensive snaps before a knee injury ended his campaign in December. Anthony, who also played on roughly a quarter of New Orleans’ special teams snaps, managed just 15 tackles after posting 112 stops during his rookie year.

The Dolphins will be on the hook for the remainder of Anthony’s ~$1.1MM base salary (which is fully guaranteed), and will be responsible for a similar, non-guaranteed figure in 2018. Miami will then have until next May to decide on Anthony’s 2019 fifth-year option. The Dolphins won’t need to make a roster move to accommodate Anthony’s arrival, as Timmons no longer counts against the team’s 53-man count.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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