Kickers, QBs secure jobs as trades pick up
Decisions on placekickers and backup quarterbacks dominated Saturday's round of NFL moves as the league went to one day of cuts.
Lots of established players such as Kansas City linebacker Tamba Hali, Minnesota defensive linemen Sharrif Floyd and Datone Jones, New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich and Chicago defensive end Lamarr Houston and wide receiver Cam Meredith wound up on injured reserve.
Out on the street, at least for now, were the likes of safety T.J. Ward, sent packing by Denver; receiver Victor Cruz, released by Chicago; running back C.J. Spiller, out in Kansas City; three-time All-Pro punter Andy Lee, set free by Carolina; WR-KR Josh Huff, gone from Tampa Bay; running back Matt Jones and safety Will Blackmon, gone from Washington; quarterback Kellen Clemens, released by the Chargers; WR Jeremy Kerley, released by San Francisco; guard Alex Boone, out in Minnesota; and players' union president Eric Winston, an offensive lineman let go by Cincinnati.
Former Eagle Point High star Tyrone Holmes, a defensive end with the Cleveland Browns, made the 53-player roster on Saturday.
Among the placekickers winning competitions were Giants rookie Aldrick Rosas — the former Southern Oregon University standout — over veteran Mike Nugent; Zane Gonzalez, a seventh-round pick, over Cody Parkey in Cleveland; undrafted free agent Younghoe Koo over Josh Lambo with the Chargers; and perhaps seventh-rounder Harrison Butker because Carolina is fielding trade calls for Graham Gano and kept two kickers on the roster.
Geno Smith won the job behind QB Eli Manning with the Giants. Rookie Cooper Rush is the guy behind 2016 Offensive Rookie of the Year Dak Prescott for the Cowboys because Luke McCown and Kellen Moore were released. Veteran Matt Schaub beat out another vet, Matt Simms, to hold the clipboard in Atlanta. Colt McCoy will be staying with the Redskins to back up Kirk Cousins because Nate Sudfeld was cut.
The Eagles are going with two quarterbacks after releasing Matt McGloin and Dane Evans, even though backup Nick Foles didn't play in the preseason because of an elbow injury.
Derek Anderson will back up Cam Newton in Carolina with Joe Webb being cut.
Anybody up for some trades? How about the archrival Browns and Steelers dealing with each other?
Pittsburgh sent wide receiver Sammie Coates to Cleveland, where the 2015 third-round pick will get a chance to revive his career. The Steelers also sent a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft to Cleveland in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2018.
Coates caught 22 passes for 446 yards and two touchdowns across two seasons in Pittsburgh. He appeared headed for a breakout year in 2016, making at least one reception of 40 yards or more in each of Pittsburgh's first five games before injuring two fingers following a 139-yard performance against the New York Jets.
Coates was never the same.
New England, minus top wideout Julian Edelman for the season, got 2015 first-round receiver Phillip Dorsett from Indianapolis for third-string QB Jacoby Brissett. The Colts have uncertainty about the health of Andrew Luck (shoulder).
The Patriots also acquired CB Johnson Bademosi from Detroit for an undisclosed pick, and DE Cassius Marsh from Seattle, also for undisclosed draft selections.
Baltimore was busy, getting offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom from Arizona for a conditional seventh-round pick and center Luke Bowanko from Jacksonville for an undisclosed draft pick.
Seattle also added some blocking help when it obtained offensive lineman Isaiah Battle from Kansas City for a conditional pick.
Carolina acquired CB Kevon Seymour from Buffalo for WR Kaelin Clay and a 2019 seventh-round draft pick. Another DB on the move was Bene Benwikere, who went to Dallas for a conditional 2019 sixth-rounder. And the Giants got CB Ross Cockrell from Pittsburgh for a conditional 2018 pick.
Tight end Derek Carrier went from the Rams to the Redskins for a 2018 seventh-rounder.