Tagged in: release

Ravens Waive LB Jake Ryan After Signing Him This Offseason

It didn’t take long for the Baltimore Ravens to cut ties with one of their offseason acquirements.

On Thursday, the Ravens revealed they’ve waived linebacker Jake Ryan just one month after signing him to a one-year, $985,000 contract.

The Ravens signed Ryan to improve their linebacker corps, but his spot on the roster was in jeopardy after the team drafted LSU’s Patrick Queen and Ohio State’s Malik Harrison. Instead of waiting until training camp, Baltimore opted to put Ryan on the waiver wire in June.

Ryan was a former 2015 fourth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers out of Michigan. He started off his NFL career as a rotational linebacker, but slowly started earning starters snap in his second and third years. In his first three seasons, Ryan recorded 213 tackles (15 for loss), eight quarterback hits, one forced fumble, and one sack.

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His stint in Green Bay reached it’s conclusion after suffering a torn ACL during training camp in 2018, forcing him to miss the entire season.

As an unrestricted free agent last year, Ryan signed on with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He didn’t make an impact with the Jags, as he started his season on the non-football injury list. Ryan played in just two games, where he didn’t post a single statistic.

Considering there are plenty of teams who need depth at linebacker, it should only be a matter of time before Ryan is picked up or signed before the start of summer drills.

In four NFL seasons, Ryan has used his size and physicality to develop into a reliable defender against the run, but he has struggled in coverage. He totaled 213 tackles (including 15 for loss), one sack, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in 45 career games (27 starts).

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NFL to release regular-season schedule Thursday

The NFL will release its regular-season schedule on Thursday night, the league reported Monday, as it continues conducting business mostly as usual amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The schedule will be disclosed in a three-hour telecast on NFL Network starting at 8 p.m.

Thus far, the league has not announced any major updates to its schedule as a result of the pandemic, which has brought most organized sports around the globe to a halt. NFL training facilities are closed because of the pandemic, leading to the league’s first-ever “virtual offseason,” but the league still plans to start the campaign on time while playing in teams’ home stadiums.

Opening day for the 2020 season is Sept. 10, with the season set to finish with Super Bowl 55 on February 7, 2021. The NFL also held last month’s draft on time while canceling all in-person events. The draft had been set for Las Vegas; instead, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced picks from his home.

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Should the pandemic force major changes to the season, the league is considering alternatives including empty stadiums, neutral sites and getting rid of bye weeks, league executive Troy Vincent told The Associated Press last week. Any such changes would have to be approved by the players union.

Earlier Monday, the NFL announced it was moving its five matches scheduled for London and Mexico City this season back to U.S. stadiums.

The league has evaluated contingency plans should the pandemic intensify, working in conjunction with the NFL Players Association and medical experts on a set of protocols.

The league is evaluating when players can re enter team facilities. The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to keep buildings closed until every state in which a team resides lifts its stay-at-home mandate. Teams are conducting organized team activities virtually.

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Bengals release Andy Dalton after drafting Joe Burrow

The Cincinnati Bengals reportedly released quarterback Andy Dalton on Thursday, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Cincy drafted LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft last week.

Dalton threw for 3,494 yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2019. As the season wore on, the writing was on the wall regarding his future in Cincinnati.

The Bengals benched Dalton for their Week 10 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, which proved to be a 49-13 loss. They were 0-8 by that point, so it made sense to give Ryan Finley, the team’s fourth-round pick last year, a few starts to see if he might be Dalton’s long-term successor under center.

Following three consecutive defeats, Cincinnati turned back to Dalton for the rest of the year.

The 32-year-old spoke of how his demotion made him approach the game a little differently.

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“It feels good,” he told reporters in November. “Just as a player who has started basically every chance I’ve been able to without being hurt, it gives you a different perspective being on the other side. I’m glad to be back out playing. I feel I can help us win, so I’m excited to be going these last five games.”

The Bengals’ 33-23 victory versus Cleveland Browns in Week 17 had an air of finality. Fans cheered Dalton off the field as he walked back to the locker room, and he said after the home match he knew it might have been his last game with the team.

Cincinnati is in need of a reboot after going 2-14 in 2019. The team’s selection of Burrow was forecast for months beforehand, and now the path is clear for him to take over the starting job as a rookie.

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Bears release TE Trey Burton

The Chicago Bears are releasing tight end Trey Burton, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

According to The Athletic’s Adam Jahns, the Bears plan to designate Burton as a post-June 1 release, which means that it will save money against the salary cap. But Burton will cost the Bears $7.5 million in dead money and free up just $1.05 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap.

In 2018, Chicago signed Burton to a four-year, $32 million contract, which included $22 million guaranteed. While Burton had a career-best season with the Bears in 2018 — 54 catches for 569 receiving yards and six touchdowns — it was ultimately his lack of availability that was his downfall.

After warning the team that he had a groin injury the night before Chicago’s wild-card playoff game versus the Eagles, Burton never recovered. In 2019, he only played in eight matches, tallying 14 catches for 84 yards, before landing on injured reserve.

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The Bears had the worst group of tight ends in the NFL last season, and it’s no wonder the position has been an area of focus for general manager Ryan Pace.

Chicago signed former Packers tight end Jimmy Graham to a two-year deal last month, and that raised a question about Burton’s future with the Bears.

The Bears now have nine tight ends under contract, and it wouldn’t be shocking for Pace to add another in the NFL Draft next week.

Burton, 28, had been the third and fourth tight end with the Eagles and a special teams standout. But he took advantage of his opportunities on offense during the 2017 season and became part of Eagles lore when he threw a touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles on a play called “Philly Special” in the Super Bowl LII victory over the Patriots.

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CB Pierre Desir joins Jets a day after Colts cut him

It didn’t take Pierre Desir long to find a new home. A day after the Colts made the somewhat shocking decision to release him, the veteran cornerback agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Jets, according to several reports.

Desir’s landing with the Jets should come as little surprise, given their need for corners and his familiarity with assistant general manager — and former Colts vice president of player personnel — Rex Hogan. In New York, Desir joins a handful of ex-Colts, including Henry Anderson, Tarell Basham, Nate Hariston, Matthias Farley, Jonotthan Harrison and the recently signed Josh Andrews.

Releasing Desir saved the Colts $6.85 million against the salary cap this campaign and leaves no dead money. The move was jarring given that it came only a year after Desir signed a three-year, $22.5 million extension to remain with the Colts. Though he suffered through a rough, injury-plagued 2019 season, he enjoyed a breakout campaign during the Colts’ playoff run in 2018.

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Desir was the Colts’ nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2019. 

A league source told IndyStar Colts Insider Joel A. Erickson that Desir was caught off guard by the Colts’ decision to release him. 

Without Desir, the Colts are both young and thin at cornerback. They have seven corners on the roster, but only Kenny Moore, Quincy Wilson, Rock Ya-Sin and Marvell Tell suited up for the Colts in a game last season. 

Desir played in 12 games, starting 11, and allowed five touchdown passes and a 95.6 passer rating, according to Pro Football Focus.

He broke into the league as a fourth-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2014. He played briefly for the Chargers before landing with the Colts in 2017.

Desir has five career interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

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Todd Gurley agrees to contract with Falcons after being cut by Rams

Todd Gurley is headed back to the Peach State.

The former Georgia Bulldog has agreed to a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, one day after he was released from the Los Angeles Rams. The full details of the contract are unknown at this time.

“WE GOT HIM,” wrote the Falcons’ twitter account on Friday, accompanied by a short slideshow.

The Falcons cut ties with their feature running back Devonta Freeman last week.

Gurley, 25, was cut on Thursday shortly after rumors surfaced that the Rams planned to cut or trade their star running back. In response, he tweeted jocularly, “Damn I got fired on my day off #QuarantineAndChill.”

A Baltimore native, Gurley rejoins former Rams teammate Dante Fowler Jr., who signed a three-year, $48 million deal with the Falcons earlier this week.

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Gurley, the 10th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, inked a blockbuster four-year, $60 million contract extension with $45 million guaranteed in 2018, a deal that made him the highest-paid running back in the NFL at the time. His contract with the Rams carried a 2020 cap hit of $17.25 million with a dead-cap hit of $12.6 million, according to Spotrac.

The Rams will spread the dead-cap charges over two seasons and will free up $5.5 million in additional cap space as of June 2.

Gurley’s NFL career started with a 1,106 yard-season, winning him the 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He won the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year award in 2017, but has failed to replicate that success due in large part to injuries.

The three-time Pro Bowler tore his ACL in his junior year at Georgia and was held out of the end of the 2018 season with knee inflammation.

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Jets to release CB Trumaine Johnson

Trumaine Johnson’s time with the New York Jets is done, in a surprise to absolutely no one. 

The team has informed Johnson, their high-paid cornerback, that he will be released in the upcoming days, a source confirmed. 

The move likely won’t be made official until the CBA situation is clarified for next year. The Jets must cut him by the third day of the new league year (March 20), when his contract becomes fully guaranteed.

Johnson leaves the Jets near the very top of a long list of terrible free agency signings– a reminder of how difficult it can be to rebuild a crew by throwing big contracts at big problems as they go into general manager Joe Douglas’ first free agency with the team next week. 

The New York Daily News first reported Johnson had been informed of his release.

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When the Jets signed Johnson to a five-year, $72.5 million deal just two years ago, they thought they were getting one of the best available cornerbacks on the market and their lock-down answer on the outside. Instead, they got an underperforming player who was burned repeatedly, committed brutal penalties in key spots, couldn’t stay healthy and became a distraction off the field. 

He was benched during the final match of his first campaign for tardiness and early in his second season for poor play. 

In the end, Johnson played only 17 matches in two seasons for the Jets, while collecting $34 million. Yes, that’s $2 million per game.

And while he’s gone, he certainly will not be forgotten. By moving on, the Jets might save only $3 million and carry $12 million of dead money into next season if the CBA stays the same. 

Under a new CBA, they would be able to spread the dead money over two seasons saving them some more space.

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Giants release team captain Alec Ogletree

The New York Giants released team captain Alec Ogletree and fellow linebacker Kareem Martin on Wednesday, opening up about $13 million in salary cap space.

Ogletree joined the Giants in a 2018 trade from the Los Angeles Rams. The Giants signed Martin to a three-year contract in 2018.

Ogletree, 28, was under contract through 2021. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound defender had 80 total tackles, six passes defensed, an interception and a sack in 13 starts in 2019. Ogletree had 93 tackles, eight passes defensed, five interceptions, two touchdowns and a sack in 13 matches in 2018. Cutting Ogletree saves the Giants $8.25 million against the salary cap.

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Ogletree was the No. 30 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

The Georgia product has 676 tackles, 57 passes defensed, 41 tackles for a loss, 12 interceptions, 12 forced fumbles, 7.5 sacks, four touchdowns and two fumble recoveries in 93 career starts.

The veteran was again slated to make $10 million in 2020 and was in route to be the fourth-highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL, but none of the money was guaranteed.

Ogletree played the first five years of his career with the Rams, topping 100 tackles in three of his first four campaigns. The second-team All-Pro in 2016 has career totals of 674 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 12 forced fumbles and 12 interceptions. He also has four defensive touchdowns.

The Giants signed Martin to a three-year, $21 million contract one day after getting Ogletree in March 2018. Martin spent his first four seasons in the league with the Arizona Cardinals.

Martin played in all 16 matches in his first season in New York and had a career-high 48 tackles. But a knee injury in the 2019 season opener limited him to five games last season.

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Detroit Lions release DT Damon ‘Snacks’ Harrison

Damon “Snacks” Harrison held out of OTAs and minicamps during last year’s offseason to get a contract extension from the Detroit Lions.

He eventually got that extension. Now, the team is releasing the former All-Pro defensive tackle, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

One of the top interior run-stuffers in the league for years, Harrison posted 49 total tackles last campaign — his lowest total since his rookie year — for a Detroit defense that was 13th in the league against the run.

The Lions will save $6,718,750 in salary cap space by releasing Harrison. Detroit had a cap hit of $11,718,750 on Harrison if they kept the defensive tackle on the roster for the 2020 season.

Harrison started 15 matches for the Lions in 2019, finishing with 49 tackles, two sacks and three passes defensed. He had 5.5 sacks and 49 tackles in 25 games with the Lions, who acquired him for a conditional 2019 fifth-round draft-pick from the New York Giants prior to the 2018 trade deadline. A First Team All-Pro with the Giants in 2016, Harrison had 86 tackles and 2.5 sacks at nose tackle that season.

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Harrison tearfully told reporters at the end of last campaign that he is considering retirement this offseason, and that is reportedly still a possibility.

If this is indeed it for Harrison, it will have been an impressive career for a player who was undrafted out of the NAIA’s William Penn University in Iowa (student population: 1,050).

Harrison’s release continues the Lions’ trend of parting ways with key defensive players. The Lions traded long-time safety Quandre Diggs (and a 2021 seventh-round pick) to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2020 fifth-round pick at the trade deadline last season, just one year after Diggs signed a three-year, $20.4 million contract extension.

The Lions have also talked to multiple teams about a Darius Slay trade this offseason after fielding offers for the Pro Bowl cornerback at the 2019 trade deadline. Slay is about to enter the final year of a four-year, $48.15 million extension, becoming a free agent after the season. 

The Lions are looking to rebuild a defense that finished 26th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed. Trading Harrison just expedited that process.

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Texans release veteran cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III

The Texans have cut veteran cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, the team said Friday.

Hargreaves signed with the Texans in November after he was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after he was benched during a match.

After that match, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Hargreaves “didn’t look like he was hustling to go in for a tackle.”

Hargreaves could have stayed in Houston under his fifth-year option worth $9.6 million, but there was no dead money on the contract because the option is guaranteed for injury only before the start of the new league year in March.

In his end-of-season news conference, Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he thought Hargreaves “made the best of” his opportunity to join Houston during the campaign.

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“I don’t think that’s easy to be able to come in, in the middle of a season, and really later than that, and play that nickel position is not easy,” O’Brien said. “So, I give a lot of credit to Vernon. There’s a lot of things that he’s going to work hard to improve upon. We’re going to help them with that, but I think Vernon stepped into a tough situation and really made the best of it.”

Hargreaves, 24, was drafted by Tampa Bay with the No. 11 overall pick in 2016.

In 41 career games, the Florida product has two interceptions, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 186 tackles.

The move helps the Texans clear an additional $10 million in salary cap space, which should help the club with its impending negotiations to keep defensive tackle D.J. Reader, running back Carlos Hyde, and a bevy of other free agents set to hit the open market when the new league year starts on March 18.

Hargreaves will now have the make the best of a situation where he will be on his third team in a 12-month span. The Texans will also have to make the best of a situation where there could be a swath of brand new faces at cornerback.

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