Skip to content

Dwight Lowery visited with Colts

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

The Colts re-signed safety Mike Adams, but they’re still in the market for more help at the position and had a veteran option in for a visit.

Albert Breer of NFL Media reports that veteran safety Dwight Lowery met with the team. Lowery played for the Falcons last year, but should be familiar to several members of the Colts organization after playing for the Jets and Jaguars during the first six years of his career.

Lowery made 15 starts while playing in every game for the Falcons last season and finished the year with 79 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a sack. He was also a starter during his three years with Jacksonville, although injuries limited him to 12 games during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

With Adams back in the fold, Lowery would likely compete to take over next to him with LaRon Landry and Sergio Brown both moving on from Indianapolis.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jamari Lattimore signs with Jets

Matthew Stafford, Jamari Lattimore AP

The Jets have added another player to their linebacking corps.

They announced the signing of former Packer Jamari Lattimore on Wednesday. Lattimore visited with the team last month.

Lattimore made the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and spent the last four years playing mostly on special teams and as a reserve in Green Bay. He did make five starts at inside linebacker last season, although the Jets will likely keep him as a depth option as long as David Harris and Demario Davis, their starters on the inside, are healthy.

Lattimore is the third Packers inside linebacker from last season to wind up with a new team this offseason. A.J. Hawk signed with the Bengals and Brad Jones landed in Philly after getting released by Green Bay.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Texans sign Nate Washington

Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars Getty Images

The Texans have added another veteran wideout to the group of players vying for playing time alongside DeAndre Hopkins in their 2015 lineup.

The team announced Wednesday that they’ve agreed to a deal with former Titans wide receiver Nate Washington. Houston has also signed ex-Jaguar Cecil Shorts this offseason while losing Andre Johnson to the Colts in their game of AFC South receiver roulette.

Washington spent six seasons with the Titans, culminating with 40 catches for 647 yards and two touchdowns while making 11 starts for the team in 2014. Those numbers are in line with his usual production in Tennessee, outside of the 74-catch, 1,023-yard season in 2011 that stands as Washington’s most productive NFL season.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that it is a one-year deal worth $1 million with $30,000 in guaranteed money, which doesn’t leave the Texans with much reason to hold onto Washington should the 31-year-old look unable to help the team once they start on-field preparations for next season.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Ravens trade Gino Gradkowski to Broncos

Baltimore Ravens v Chicago Bears Getty Images

The Broncos have been looking to add to their options at center this offseason and it looks like they’ve settled on a player who played for head coach Gary Kubiak in Baltimore last season.

The Ravens announced Wednesday that they have traded center Gino Gradkowski and a 2016 draft pick to the Broncos in exchange for a 2016 draft pick. There are no details about which picks will be swapped or if there are any conditions based on Gradkowski’s output in Denver that can change the compensation.

Gradkowski was a fourth-round pick by Baltimore in 2012 and started every game at center for the Ravens during his second NFL season. The results were not all that good, leading Baltimore to trade for Jeremy Zuttah before the 2014 season. Gradkowski saw just a handful of snaps as a reserve in Baltimore and may not have made the team this year with John Urschel and Ryan Jensen on hand as other options in the middle of the line.

The Broncos had Manny Ramirez at center to start last season and moved Will Montgomery into the first team as they looked for a better unit as the year went on. Montgomery is a free agent, leaving Gradkowski without much in the way of experienced competition for the job at the moment.

Permalink 18 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bengals bring back Brandon Tate

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

Wide receiver/kick returner Brandon Tate visited with the Chiefs this week and the prospect of losing him may have spurred the Bengals into taking action to ensure Tate’s return to the team for the 2015 season.

The Bengals announced Wednesday that they have re-signed Tate, who has spent the last four seasons in Cincinnati.

“Brandon has been a big contributor to the success of our team in qualifying for the playoffs the past four seasons,” coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement. “We are happy he has decided to remain a Bengal.”

Tate joined the Bengals as a waiver claim in 2011 after he was cut loose by the Patriots and has spent most of his time with the team as their primary kickoff and punt returner. He wasn’t particularly productive in either role last season, which led many to believe that the Bengals would be looking elsewhere for return help in 2015.

They still may do that in the draft, especially if they can find a player who also offers a potential boost to the offense as a receiver. Tate caught 17 passes for the Bengals last season, but has never made much of an impact in the passing game during his time with the team.

Permalink 12 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bears sign Sam Acho

Arizona Cardinals v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

The Bears brought in a new defensive coordinator this offseason when Vic Fangio signed on to head coach John Fox’s first Chicago staff and that’s expected to mean a move toward the 3-4 base look that both men favored in previous stops.

On Wednesday, they added a player with experience in such schemes. The Bears announced they have signed former Cardinals outside linebacker Sam Acho to a one-year deal.

Acho was a fourth-round pick by Arizona in 2011 and made a splash as a rookie with seven sacks and four forced fumbles in 16 games. Acho added four more sacks while making 16 starts in his second season, but missed most of 2013 with a broken leg and contributed just one sack to the team’s pass rush.

The Bears signed Pernell McPhee to go with holdover options Lamarr Houston, Shea McClellin and Jared Allen on the edges of the defense. Acho will work his way into that mix as well and the Bears will determine how all the pieces fit once they start their offseason program.

Permalink 18 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Saints extend Jahri Evans through 2017 season

New Orleans Saints v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

The Saints entered the offseason with two guards carrying big cap hits for the 2014 season, but they got rid of one when they traded Ben Grubbs to the Chiefs.

On Wednesday, they announced a contract extension for Jahri Evans that should alleviate much of his cap hit as well. The team added a year to Evans’s deal so that it now runs through the 2017 season.

Exact details of the deal are unknown, but the result is sure to be a lower cap number than the $11 million that Evans stood to count against the cap this year. That makes it easier to hold onto him for this season, something that wasn’t guaranteed at the higher cap number, and it should leave less dead money for them to deal with if they decide to part ways with the 31-year-old down the line.

With the extension in place, Evans will almost certainly be back at right guard where he will play next to new center Max Unger in the reworked interior of the Saints offensive line.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

NFL reaches deal with D.A. to see photos from first Greg Hardy trial

Greg Hardy AP

The NFL has yet to hand down any disciplinary ruling to Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy as a result of their investigation into his domestic violence case from last year and they’ll have a bit more information to consider before making any decision about a violation of the personal conduct policy.

The league has reached a deal with the Mecklenburg County (N.C.) District Attorney’s office to look at seven photos from Hardy’s bench trial last summer. Hardy was found guilty in that trial, but appealed to have a jury trial and then had the charges dismissed when accuser Nicole Holder failed to appear in court.

Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports that the photos are of Holder’s injuries and were taken by “a medical advocate.” They will only be seen by the NFL, NFLPA and any experts involved in the investigation.

“We appreciate the District Attorney’s office agreeing to make the information available to us and we look forward to the opportunity to review the photographs,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement.

The ability to view these photos, along with ones previously obtained from Charlotte police, should move the league closer to making their call on Hardy’s availability for the coming season.

Permalink 55 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Saints sign Kyle Wilson

Denver Broncos v New York Jets Getty Images

In 2010, the Saints took cornerback Patrick Robinson with the 32nd pick in the first round of the draft.

Robinson landed in San Diego as a free agent this offseason and part of the team’s plan to replace him on the roster involves another first rounder from that class. The Saints announced Wednesday that they have signed cornerback Kyle Wilson, who went 29th to the Jets that year.

Wilson played in every game over five seasons in Jersey, but never made good on that lofty draft position with the Jets. Wilson played almost exclusively in the slot for the Jets and his performance was found lacking enough that his snaps diminished over the last two years even with the Jets desperate for help at cornerback.

With Brandon Browner and Keenan Lewis on the team in New Orleans, a sub package role will be Wilson’s path to playing time in New Orleans as well. How much of a role he winds up playing will likely be determined by any further additions New Orleans makes at the position as the offseason rolls along.

Permalink 16 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

PFT Live: Bucs talk with Rick Stroud, Cowboys talk with Clarence Hill

Jameis Winston AP

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston had his pro day workout on Tuesday and there’s no sign that it has led the Buccaneers to reconsider drafting Winston with the first overall pick.

General Manager Jason Licht gave Winston a rave review and Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times will join Mike Florio on Wednesday’s PFT Live to discuss how things went for Winston. They’ll touch on other Tampa matters as well during Stroud’s visit before attention shifts to Dallas.

Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram will also be on the show. Hill and Florio will discuss Greg Hardy’s role with the Cowboys, the return of linebacker Rolando McClain and wide receiver Dez Bryant’s hopes for a long-term contract among other topics.

We also want to hear from PFT Planet. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour of the show by clicking right here.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Malcolm Jenkins: LeSean McCoy trade wasn’t surprising

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Getty Images

There were plenty of people surprised when the Eagles traded running back LeSean McCoy to the Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso, but Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins wasn’t one of them.

Jenkins said that “everybody who is in the locker room and really knows Chip [Kelly]” understood why Kelly decided to ship the team’s leading rusher to Buffalo. Jenkins said that people in that position thought the deal made sense from the standpoint of “looking to acquire more talent” as well as finding talent that fit what Kelly wants to do on offense.

“You look at the style of runner that Chip wants in his offense and even though Shady is one of the best backs in the league, he’s not necessarily what Chip is looking for all the time,” Jenkins said during an appearance on NFL Network. “Chip thinks he’s a great running back, he knows his talent is there, but our [system] is really predicated on downhill, somebody who is going to hit the hole every time. It’s about getting up in the defenders face as fast as you can and that’s not necessarily Shady’s running style.”

Jenkins did say that there was some surprise about the Eagles only getting Alonso in return for McCoy because he thought it would have been bigger than a player-for-player deal, but the fact that Kelly is shaping the team to his desires in his first year running the personnel shop isn’t raising any other eyebrows.

Permalink 28 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Urban Meyer: Browns are “fantastic” at pre-draft due diligence

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has dealt with a lot of NFL scouts over the course of his career with the Buckeyes and other teams and he knows that they aren’t all created equal.

Meyer said Tuesday that some of the teams “do a phenomenal job” when it comes to asking questions and finding out everything there is to know about a prospect. He’s also had teams pick his players without ever speaking to him and says that those teams that don’t do the legwork also fail to “win a bunch of games.”

Based on 2014 experiences, you might think Meyer would put the Browns in the latter category. First-round picks Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert both struggled in their first NFL seasons with Manziel winding up in rehab and Gilbert dealing with a “very personal” issue that the Browns first became aware of once he was already on the team. Meyer says that’s not the case, however.

“Not good, fantastic,” Meyer said, via Cleveland.com. “I really like their head coach. He’s knee deep in it.”

The Browns did hit on later picks with guard Joel Bitonio, linebacker Christian Kirksey and running back Terrance West contributing to the team and Isaiah Crowell joined West in the backfield after signing as an undrafted free agent. As anyone familiar with recent Browns history will tell you though, missing on big pieces like quarterbacks often sets you back more than those kinds of hits spring you forward and the Browns need one of those big hits to become a team that wins a bunch of their future games.

Permalink 56 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Joe Lombardi: Matthew Stafford will take more chances this year

Pro Bowl Getty Images

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw 12 interceptions in 16 games during the 2014 regular season, the lowest full-season total during his NFL career.

Stafford also set a new career low in net yards per pass attempt during Joe Lombardi’s first year as the offensive coordinator in Detroit. The team’s offense also saw sharp drops in points and yards, which may be why Lombardi suggested Stafford was too risk-averse during their first season working together.

“Our biggest thing is in order to win football games, you got to first not lose them,” Lombardi said, via MLive.com “And I thought he played smart football — almost to a fault. We’ll look for him to take a few more chances this year with the football. He’s got the arm to do it, and the receivers to throw it to.”

Having a healthy Calvin Johnson would offer Stafford more opportunities to show off the arm that once threw for 5,000 yards in a season and more shots down the field could return some of those missing points. That said, avoiding risk on offense paid off for the team last season and it would be surprising to see them alter things too dramatically after winning 11 games for the first time since 1991 and the third time since the franchise has been in Detroit.

Permalink 22 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Ravens, Rob Housler talking about deal

Houston Texans v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

The Ravens are short on tight ends at the moment and they may try to remedy that by signing a former member of the Cardinals.

Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Ravens and Rob Housler have mutual interest in working together during the 2015 season. That mutual interest hasn’t led to mutual agreement on a price for Housler’s services, though Wilson reports that the two sides continue to talk in hopes of finding a common ground.

Housler caught 84 passes for the Cardinals across the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but saw his role in the offense drop significantly last season. Housler caught just nine balls for 129 yards as Arizona’s passing game looked in other directions.

Signing with Baltimore could offer Housler a chance to rebound as the Ravens need to replace Owen Daniels’s 48 catches from last season with the veteran following Gary Kubiak to Denver. Crockett Gilmore returns from last year’s team, although he’s been more of a blocker thus far in his career.

Housler visited Atlanta earlier in the offseason before the Falcons signed Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chuck Pagano on Andre Johnson: You don’t see a huge dropoff

Andre Johnson AP

Wide receiver Andre Johnson posted his lowest average yards per catch since 2005 while playing for the Texans last season, a development which may have accelerated his departure from Houston in the offseason.

It’s not a problem for the Colts, though. Indianapolis was quick to snap Johnson up once he became a free agent and coach Chuck Pagano says that the team didn’t see a markedly different player on the field during the 2014 season.

“You don’t see a huge dropoff numbers-wise,” Pagano said, via ESPN.com. “Maybe in touchdowns. But you still see a guy who is more than capable of stretching the defense. Certainly somebody who an opponent can’t just line up and say, ‘Don’t worry about Andre Johnson.’ They’re still going to have to tend to him if you will. If they choose to double [T.Y. Hilton] and take him out of the game, you have another guy on the other side, along with the rest of the guys on the roster who can still stretch the defense. He’s a big, possession type guy. He makes contested catches in traffic. He’s got a big catch radius. A big body. Those guys are hard to defend.”

The Colts are likely to get more out of Johnson as a “big, possession type guy” than as someone stretching defenses at this point in his career, but that shouldn’t be a problem at all. With Hilton and Donte Moncrief on hand, the team needs someone to make plays underneath the defense and give Andrew Luck a reliable target to extend drives down the field.

Johnson’s 85 catches while playing with the motley crew of 2014 Texans quarterbacks suggests he’ll be able to do that just fine.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top