Tagged in: roster

New York Jets continue roster shake-up, release veteran cornerback Pierre Desir

Veteran cornerback Pierre Desir, a free-agent disappointment who was benched for the final two series in the last game, was released Tuesday by the New York Jets.

The move, not unexpected, opens a starting position for rookie Bryce Hall, who substituted Desir in the Week 9 loss to the New England Patriots. The Jets (0-9) had a bye last weekend.

The Jets signed Desir in March, soon after he was released by the Indianapolis Colts. They gave him a one-year, $4 million contract, including $3.25 million in guarantees, expecting him to be their No. 1 corner.

That never materialized. In fact, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams benched Desir in the first half of the first game.

After one week in a backup role, Desir returned to the starting lineup and remained there for the next seven matches. In the final minutes of the 30-27 loss to the Patriots, Desir permitted a 31-yard completion to wide receiver Damiere Byrd — a play in which Desir half-heartedly gave chase across the field. He was immediately pulled from the game and Hall finished the series and played the entire final drive.

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Desir’s only shining moment came in a Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos, when he intercepted two passes, including one returned for a touchdown.

In nine matches, Desir recorded three interceptions, eight pass break-ups and one forced fumble.

Hall, a fifth-round pick from Virginia, has played only one match, as he spent the first eight games battling back from a serious ankle injury that occurred during his final campaign in college. He started the 2020 season on the non-football injury list and practiced only two weeks before making his debut versus the Patriots.

In rebuilding mode, the Jets have traded or released several veterans in recent weeks, including running back Le’Veon Bell, linebacker Avery Williamson and nose tackle Steve McLendon. The Jets also placed nickelback Brian Poole (knee/shoulder) on injured reserve.

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Ravens sign veteran CB Tramon Williams

The Ravens have added a veteran cornerback to fortify a position hit hard by injuries. Tramon Williams, who has spent most of his career with the Green Bay Packers, has been signed to the 53-man roster.

Williams substitutes cornerback Khalil Dorsey (shoulder), who has been placed on injured reserve.

The 37-year-old Williams has 34 career interceptions, but has not played this campaign after his second stint with the Packers ended in 2019. An undrafted free agent in 2006 from Louisiana Tech, Williams had his best years with the Packers, where he played from 2006-14 and acquired a Super Bowl in 2010.

In his second stint with Green Bay that started in 2018, Williams started 23 games, including seven games last season. Though he has primarily been a cornerback, Williams also played some safety for the Packers last season.

Williams has also played for the Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals.

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Williams will add depth to the cornerback rotation that includes Pro Bowlers Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, veteran Jimmy Smith and second-year pro Terrell Bonds. Humphrey (COVID-19) is expected to return this week after missing Sunday’s game versus the Indianapolis Colts.

Dorsey, who dislocated his shoulder during Sunday’s game in Indianapolis, joins a lengthy list of injured cornerbacks from Baltimore. Tavon Young and Iman Marshall are out for the season with knee injuries and Anthony Averett (shoulder) is on injured reserve, though he could return later this year.

Dorsey will be out at least the next three matches. The Ravens have also signed two players to the practice squad – defensive back Nate Brooks and offensive tackle R.J. Prince. Prince was on the Ravens’ practice squad last season and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brooks was an undrafted free agent from North Texas in 2019 who has been with the Cardinals, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

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Seattle Seahawks release veteran TE Luke Willson

The Seattle Seahawks released veteran tight end Luke Willson on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old Willson has played sparingly this campaign as the Seahawks’ No. 4 tight end behind Greg Olsen, Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister. They just activated rookie fourth-round pick Colby Parkinson from the non-football injury list, adding to their logjam at the position.

Seattle also has undrafted rookie Tyler Mabry on its practice squad as well as rookie seventh-round pick Stephen Sullivan, who plays tight end and defensive end. Sullivan made his NFL debut at defensive end Sunday after being elevated for the Seahawks’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

Willson has played 10 offensive snaps in five games without a target. Willson was a fifth-round pick by the Seahawks in 2013, the year they won Super Bowl XLVIII. He spent his first five seasons with Seattle and played for the Detroit Lions in 2018 before returning to the Seahawks the following year.

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Releasing Willson will leave the Seahawks with two open spots on their 53-man roster, which figure to be filled by defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Rasheem Green. The Seahawks now have a roster exemption for Dunlap after acquiring him in a trade last week with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Coach Pete Carroll has said he expects Green to return this week off injured reserve.

In other Seahawks news, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett had surgery Tuesday to repair the foot injury that’s sidelined him all season. A source told ESPN that part of the issue with Dorsett’s foot was bone spurs that needed to be cleaned out. He had been able to run but wasn’t 100%. There’s some hope that Dorsett can return later this season, the source said, but it’s not a sure thing.

Dorsett has been on injured reserve since late September and has been eligible to return. Asked about Dorsett’s status on Monday, coach Pete Carroll made it clear he wasn’t coming back anytime soon.

“Phillip Dorsett is not doing well,” he stated. “His foot has really not responded. We’ll let you know. We haven’t done anything about that yet but he’s not ready to go.”

Asked if surgery was a probability, Carroll said: “It’s not ready to be disclosed yet to tell you what’s going on, but it’s not looking good for the near future, and he’s been doing everything he can and is frustrated and all that. So in the next couple days, we’ll get a little more clarity on it.”

The Seahawks signed the former first-round pick to a one-year, minimum-salary deal in March. Their offense has been leading the NFL in scoring, with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf tied for the league lead in touchdown receptions at seven apiece. 

David Moore, rookie Freddie Swain and Penny Hart are the other wide receivers on Seattle’s 53-man roster.

Josh Gordon remains on the reserve/suspended list as he awaits reinstatement by the NFL from his indefinite suspension. Also Tuesday, the Seahawks waived linebackers Mychal Kendricks and Michael Divinity off their practice squad.

One of those open spots on the practice squad could go to running back Alex Collins, who started COVID-19 testing Friday.

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Patriots place RB Damien Harris on IR with hand injury

The Patriots are doing some roster reconstruction two days after cut-down day.

Running back Damien Harris will join Beau Allen on the Patriots’ injured reserve, the team revealed Monday. To replace Harris, running back J.J. Taylor will be signed from the team’s practice squad.

Harris has missed a week’s worth of practices due to a reported hand injury. The second-year running back was expected to play a big factor in the Patriots’ running game this campaign after playing in just two games his rookie season.

“Damien has had a really good camp,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in a SiriusXM NFL Radio interview last week. “He came to camp in very good condition. He’s taken a lot of reps. He’s handled everything in the running game and passing game very well, which he did last year. I think everybody had a lot of confidence in him but they’ve all gained a lot more in him just because of his consistency and dependability.”

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With the NFL’s injured reserve rules for the 2020 season, Harris can return to practice in three weeks.

If he returns to practice, the Patriots will have 21 days to place him on the active roster.

Taylor was cut by the Patriots as part of their roster cut-down on Saturday. No team claimed Taylor and the Patriots signed him to their practice squad on Sunday.

Taylor, who signed with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in May, reportedly had a good showing in Patriots training camp. In four years at Arizona, Taylor rushed for 3,263 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also had 62 catches for 487 yards and two touchdowns in his college career.

Taylor will join Sony Michel, James White and Rex Burkhead in the Patriots’ backfield.

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Bears RB David Montgomery leaves practice with groin injury

Bears running back David Montgomery exited Wednesday’s practice after sustaining a groin injury when he slipped while taking a handoff.

“We don’t know the severity,” coach Matt Nagy told reporters during a video call. “He ended up doing it in an individual drill. It just slipped out from him on that. So that’s where he’s at. We don’t know anything else from that.”

Selected by the Bears in the third round of last year’s draft out of Iowa State, Montgomery rushed for 889 yards and six touchdowns on 242 carries and caught 25 passes for 185 yards and one TD as a rookie in 2019.

Nagy is optimistic that Montgomery’s injury isn’t serious, but the coach will have to wait until the second-year pro is further evaluated. “As far as where he’s at, I always want to try to stay optimistic,” Nagy said. “[But] I cannot tell you one way or the other. I have no idea until we see where he’s at. We’re just not there yet.

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“I’m hoping that he’s OK. He’s a big part of this offense. He’s worked really hard, and from last year to this year, rookie year to now, he’s been doing everything the right way. He’s such a good kid; you just want the best for him.”

Other running backs on the Bears roster contain Tarik Cohen, Ryan Nall and undrafted rookie Artavis Pierce.

In addition, receiver/All-Pro return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson has been practicing with the running backs since the beginning of training camp.

Montgomery has looked sleeker and quicker on the practice field the last two weeks after reducing his weight by five or six pounds to 218 pounds.

He altered his diet during the offseason, eliminating red meat, fats like doughnuts and foods that cause inflammation and replacing them with lean sources of protein such as fish, chicken and quinoa. Nagy was thrilled when the Bears drafted Montgomery in the third round last year and remains a huge fan of the young running back.

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Cardinals re-sign cornerback Kevin Peterson to 1 year deal

The Cardinals have filled out their roster by bringing back many of their own free agents this offseason despite letting them reach the open market – and they did it again Tuesday, re-signing reserve cornerback Kevin Peterson to a one-year deal.

Peterson played in 14 matches, starting three, for the Cardinals in 2019. He had 16 tackles and two passes defensed, as well as six tackles on special teams. To make room on the roster, the Cardinals released cornerback Andre Chachere.

The Cardinals will have essentially their entire secondary returning. They didn’t spend a draft pick at either cornerback or safety. Veterans Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford are likely to be the starters outside, with Byron Murphy in the slot.

At safety, they have Pro Bowler Budda Baker and second-year man Jalen Thompson. Kevin Peterson and Chris Jones would be the top reserves at cornerback right now, with Deionte Thompson and Chris Banjo the top safety reserves.

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Patrick Peterson (suspension) missed the first six games last campaign, and Alford was out the whole year with a broken leg.

“Having Patrick back Week One and having Robert back healthy Week One that’s going to help us,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph stated after the draft. “It was really tough on our young guys and our reserve corners to go out there against some good teams early. I thought Budda Baker had a hell of a year last year … He has room to grown. I thought Jalen Thompson the last month of the season played really good football. As the defense played better, I thought he played better.

“We had a young secondary, with (Byron) Murphy playing the most snaps of any defensive back in the league. It’ll pay dividends. I’m looking forward to those young guys taking huge steps.”

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