Lions Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/4/18

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

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

NFL Workout Updates: 12/4/18

Here is the latest from the workout circuit. All links to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 12/3/18

Here is the latest from the workout circuit. All links to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

  • G Salesi Uhatafe (link)

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Redskins

Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends HC Candidates

Every year, the Fritz Pollard Alliance releases a list of recommended minority head coaching candidates. This year’s edition is nearly double in size and features the likes of Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores and Cowboys defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator Kris Richard, as Mike Jones of USA Today writes. 

Here’s the complete list of suggested candidates:

  • Keith Armstrong (Falcons special teams coordinator)
  • Teryl Austin (Former Bengals defensive coordinator)
  • Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs offensive coordinator)
  • Jim Caldwell (former Lions and Colts head coach)
  • George Edwards (Vikings defensive coordinator)
  • Brian Flores (Patriots linebackers coach)
  • Leslie Frazier (Bills defensive coordinator)
  • Raheem Morris (Falcons assistant head coach/wide receivers coach)
  • Hue Jackson (special assistant to the head coach of the Bengals; former Browns head coach)
  • Kris Richard (Cowboys defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator)
  • Duce Staley (Eagles assistant head coach/running backs coach)

Flores, the de facto defensive coordinator of the Patriots, figures to be a hot coaching candidate this year. The same goes for Bieniemy, who is helping to guide one of the league’s most dangerous offenses.

Others on this list, such as Jackson and Austin, seem unlikely to garner real consideration for head coaching positions this offseason. The Browns turned the corner after dumping Jackson and appointing Gregg Williams as the team’s interim head coach, which isn’t a great endorsement for the offensive guru. Meanwhile, the Bengals hired Austin in January but fired him earlier this month as his defense was one of the lowest ranked in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Rumors: Bears, Nagy, Ravens, Vikings

It’s still unclear if Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will be available to face the Giants on Sunday, but Chicago is confident Trubisky’s shoulder injury won’t turn into a long-term issue, as Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com tweets. Trubisky missed the Bears’ Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Lions, but Chicago was still able to manage a victory with backup Chase Daniel under center. The Bears have a 98% chance of earning a postseason berth and an 83% chance to win the NFC North, so they may not want to risk Trubisky’s health in what could be another easy win against New York. Trubisky did practice on Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), although it was in a limited fashion.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • While Trubisky might be healthy enough to play on Sunday, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco almost certainly won’t be ready for Week 13. Flacco, who is still dealing with a hip issue that has cost him two games, didn’t practice on Wednesday and appears likely to sit out Sunday, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). First-round rookie Lamar Jackson, who has led Baltimore to two victories in his first two starts, figures to be under center again when the Ravens take on the Falcons. Meanwhile, offensive lineman James Hurst returned to practice on Wednesday after being sidelined since mid-October, reports Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Matt Nagy will lead the Bears against the Giants on Sunday, but New York never showed any interest in hiring him as a head coach during the offseason, as he told reporters — including Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com (Twitter link) — on Wednesday. That’s in line with PFR’s 2018 Head Coaching Search Tracker, which shows Nagy only interviewed with the Colts and Bears. The Giants, meanwhile, met with Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia, Steve Wilks, Eric Studesville, and Steve Spagnuolo before hiring Pat Shurmur. Nagy, for his part, could take home Coach of the Year depending on how Chicago’s season ends.
  • Speaking of current Bears coaches, Chicago is worried it could lose defensive coordinator Vic Fangio this offseason, as Jay Glazer of The Athletic writes. Fangio has interviewed for two head positions in the past, but both have been with clubs that already employed him (Bears in 2018, 49ers in 2015). While he didn’t land either of those gigs, Fangio could be in line to move into a head coaching role after that’s currently ranked first in DVOA by a relatively wide margin. As Glazer writes, however, Fangio’s age (60) could work against him as many clubs are searching for younger coaches.
  • By going over the 100-catch mark on Sunday, Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen triggered an escalator in his contract, tweets Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Thielen, who inked an incredibly team-friendly extension last spring, will now see his 2019 base salary increase from $3.85MM to $5.85MM. If he tops 90 receptions in 2019, Thielen will boost his 2020 salary from $5.35MM to $7.35MM.

Lions Designate CB Jamal Agnew For Return

The Lions have designated cornerback/returner Jamal Agnew to return from injured reserve, the club announced today.

Agnew was originally placed on IR on October 15, and given the NFL’s requirement that IR/return players miss six weeks, the earliest Agnew can return is Week 15. He was allowed to return to practice today, however, opening a three-week window during which the Lions must decide whether to activate Agnew to their 53-man roster, or leave him on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

Agnew, 23, earned All-Pro honors as a specialist during his rookie season in 2017 after leading the NFL in punt return yardage and average, and also scored two touchdowns on special teams. His prowess in the kicking game had continued into this season, but Agnew had also been asked to play more on defense, where his playtime percentage had jumped from just 7.8% a year ago to 36.3% in 2018. Pro Football Focus gave Agnew poor marks for his coverage abilities, however, grading him as a bottom-10 cornerback.

Detroit has no chance at making the postseason, so it’s fair to wonder why the Lions would risk Agnew’s health in a lost year. But as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com writes, Agnew could use the final three weeks of the 2018 campaign to get more experience playing cornerback. Detroit can certainly use all the help it can get, as the club has been deploying lackluster options Nevin Lawson and Mike Ford (an undrafted rookie free agent) alongside Darius Slay. The Lions currently rank 31st in both pass defense DVOA and opposing passer rating allowed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/27/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

  • Signed: OL Gerhard de Beer

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Lions Work Out RB C.J. Anderson

Operating as the Broncos’ starter for a fourth straight season in 2017, C.J. Anderson exceeded 1,000 rushing yards for the first time. But he’s been released twice this year.

The Panthers cut the sixth-year running back earlier this season, but the Lions are looking into him, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets. Anderson worked out for the Lions on Tuesday.

Christian McCaffrey‘s played on 97 percent of the Panthers’ offensive snaps this season, leaving little time for Anderson. The 27-year-old back envisioned a chance to hit the 2019 free agency market after a productive season. With 24 carries for 104 yards, the UDFA success story has not contributed much in 2018.

The Broncos cut Anderson in April, putting the running back in a similar position to Dez Bryant — only at a position on which teams don’t spend as much money. He rushed for 1,007 yards in 2017 and was key to Denver’s 2015 Super Bowl march, amassing 234 yards in the three Bronco playoff games that year. The Broncos matched a four-year, $18MM Dolphins offer sheet in 2016 and deployed Anderson as their starter the following two seasons before cutting bait and going with younger backs this year.

Detroit has been without Kerryon Johnson, going with LeGarrette Blount, Zach Zenner and pass-catching back Theo Riddick in that time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/26/18

Today’s practice squad updates:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

  • Released: DB Horace Richardson

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Redskins