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Training Camp Moves – Week 6

This post is a compilation of additions NFL teams made during the fourth full week of camps. The timetable for this post opens on August 29 and continues through September 3 You can read a summary of the first week of training camp moves here; the second week moves here; the third week moves here; the fourth week of moves here; and the fifth week of moves here. Because moves will be coming fast and furious throughout training camp, we’re going to use quick analysis of moves each week during this time instead of creating a massive Football Relativity comparison.

Additions

Chargers (add DT Travis Johnson) – Johnson, a former first-round pick, never panned out as an impact player in Houston. He was a starter at defensive tackle the last two years, but he hasn’t been enough of a take-on player to mitigate his lack of impact (two career sacks, one career interception). The talent that made Johnson a first-round pick intrigued San Diego, which traded for Johnson and could can try him as a 3-4 end. That role might fit his talent better, because it will allow him to be a space-holder who makes it easier for the linebackers behind him to shake free and make plays. That potential made it worth a sixth-round pick (which can become a fifth-rounder based on Johnson’s playing time) for the Chargers.

Bears (add CB Rod Hood) – Hood, a starter in Arizona last year, landed in Cleveland this offseason but was cut in training camp. Now he goes to Chicago, which has had major secondary injury issues in training camp. Hood probably isn’t a guy you want to start now, but he is a guy who you’re OK with starting in a pinch. So in that role, he fits with the Bears.

Lions (add QB Kevin O’Connell) – O’Connell, a third-round pick in 2008, looked like the leading candidate to be the Pats’ backup QB after New England released Matt Gutierrez earlier in training camp. But O’Connell couldn’t seize the opportunity, and he was cut after the third preseason game. O’Connell latched on with Detroit, which has some lingering QB injuries but also has the first waiver claim. Don’t be surprised if the Lions trade O’Connell somewhere for a low-round draft choice instead of keeping him.

Subtractions

Chiefs (cut WR Amani Toomer) – Toomer, the long-time Giants wideout, landed in Kansas City this year, but he didn’t have enough left to make the team. The Chiefs also have vet Bobby Engram, who can do many of the same things from a dependability and a team-camaraderie standpoint as Toomer but can do more on the field too. That probably doomed Toomer’s Chiefs career.

Buccaneers (cut WR Dexter Jackson) – Jackson, the Bucs’ second-round pick in 2008, had a bust of a rookie season and didn’t recapture his Appalachian State form in the offseason this year. So the Bucs, under a new regime, cut the cord on the speedy but undersized receiver. Someone will give Jackson a chance, at least as a return man, but it’s sad to see him lose his chance so quickly in Tampa.

Rams (cut TE Joe Klopfenstein) – Klopfenstein, a former second-round pick back in 2006, never turned into a player for the Rams, piling up 33 starts but only that many catches while playing every game the past three years. It’s another bust from a horrid 2006 draft class for the Rams, which explains part of the reason they have just five wins the last two years.

49ers (cut QB Damon Huard) – Huard would have been a contender for the Niners’ backup job, but former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith has done enough in the offseason to stake claim to that job. That made Huard expendable. But his veteran wile makes him a good fit elsewhere as an emergency No. 2 or as an insurance policy.

Buccaneers (cut OG Sean Mahan) – Mahan was a long-time starter in Tampa Bay who returned last year after a one-year stint in Pittsburgh. But Mahan is no longer starter-caliber, and so the youth movement of the Bucs swept him out with so many other veterans.

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Training Camp Moves – Week 2

This post is a compilation of additions NFL teams made during the second full week of camps. The timetable for this post opens on August 1 and continues through August 6. You can read a summary of the first week of training camp moves here, and follow past offseason moves from there. Because moves will be coming fast and furious throughout training camp, we’re going to use quick analysis of moves each week during this time instead of creating a massive Football Relativity comparison.

Additions

Seahawks (add CB Travis Fisher and OGs Cory Withrow and Grey Ruegamer) – After cutting ’08 starter Mike Wahle, the Seahawks went looking for interior offensive line depth. Withrow and Ruegamer are both veteran hands, and it apepars that they’ll be fighting it out for one job (at best). Fisher provides depth at an already-deep position, but with Marcus Trufant battling a back injury, Seattle went for some insurance.

Eagles (add LBs Matt Wilhelm and Jason Babin) – When starting MLB Stewart Bradley went out, the Eagles faced a huge gap in the middle. They were fortunate that Wilhelm, a starter in San Diego, was on the market. Wilhelm isn’t an impact guy, but he’s big and can at least help stuff the run. He’ll be moving from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3, which could cause some problems, but it’s worth a shot for Philly to see if Wilhelm can adjust and contribute as a two-down player. There probably wasn’t anybody else on the market as good as Wilhelm, so props to Philly for getting this deal done immediately after Bradley’s injury. Babin, a former first-round pick in Houston, has potential as a pass rusher but has never really realized it. Still, he’s worth a look – especially in Philly’s attacking D.

Falcons (add LB Jamie Winborn and WRs Robert Ferguson and Marty Booker) – After losing Keith Brooking to free agency in the offseason, the Falcons wanted a veteran hand in their LB corps. That’s what Winborn brings, along with Mike Peterson. Winborn probably fits in best as Curtis Lofton’s backup at middle linebacker, but he could step into the strong-side role if Peterson were to get hurt. This is a move designed to bring depth, and it should do just that. Ferguson never really broke out as a receiver in Green Bay or Minnesota, but he’s a veteran who can slip into the No. 3 or No. 4 spot in the ATL now that Harry Douglas is out for the year. With Douglas out and Roddy White holding out, the Falcons desperately needed depth, and Ferguson can provide that. The fact that Ferguson can help on special teams as well should help secure him a spot on the regular-season roster. Booker has had a more accomplished career than Ferguson, but his size and lack of speed makes him a lot like current Falcons wideout Brian Finneran. So unless Booker shows a burst he hasn’t featured in recent years, he’s a long shot to make it.

Chiefs (add WR Amani Toomer and QB Matt Gutierrez) – Toomer, the long-time Giant, no longer has any kind of breakaway speed, but he catches the ball when it’s thrown to him. It seems a little strange to have both Toomer and Bobby Engram on the same roster, which could lead to a release down the line. But if Mark Bradley doesn’t continue to emerge, then Toomer is a solid insurance policy. Probably the best-case scenario for the Chiefs is to have Toomer as their No. 4 receiver who can fill in outside if Bradley or Dwayne Bowe has to miss time. Relying on Toomer for more than that could prove to be a mistake. Gutierrez is good enough to be on a roster, but it didn’t make much sense for the Patriots to have two inexperienced backups behind Tom Brady. That appears to be why Gutierrez lost his spot there to Andrew Walter. The Chiefs claimed Gutierrez on waivers to be their third quarterback, which makes sense because he’s coming from the same system as starter Matt Cassel. Gutierrez still has potential, and the fact that new Chiefs GM Scott Pioli knows him reveals the logic behind the move. He’ll upgrade the Chiefs at the No. 3 QB spot and could even make trading promising backup Tyler Thigpen an option at some point before 2010.

Patriots (add DE Derrick Burgess and QB Andrew Walter) – Burgess, who had 38.5 sacks in his four years in Oakland but only 3.5 last year, had become disgruntled as a Raider, and so he’s been seeking a trade all offseason and into training camp. He finally landed in New England (as had long been rumored) in exchange for 3rd- and 5th-round draft picks in 2011 (according to Mike Lombardi). Burgess fits in New England as a situational pass rusher but not much more. Still, given the veteran nature of the Pats’ roster, and given the luck New England has had with Raiders castoffs like Randy Moss, we can count on Burgess finding a nice niche and filling his role well. Walter is a former third-round pick, but his potential never revealed itself during his starts in Oakland. Still, he has a good arm, and his experience provides a better balance to backup Kevin O’Connell than Matt Gutierrez’ raw ability did.

Texans (add CB Deltha O’Neal and RB Andre Hall) – With Dunta Robinson holding out and Jacque Reeves out for more than a month, the Texans were in dire need of cornerback help. O’Neal is a veteran who can attack the ball but also gets burned at times. Still, he can help enough to be worth a look in Houston’s hour of need. Hall has shown flashes of ability in the past, and he has played in a system like Houston’s in Denver, so he could get noticed in the preseason.

Cardinals (add C Melvin Fowler) – Fowler, a center who was most recently with the Bills, is an experienced hand who should provide some stability as a backup. He won’t beat out Lyle Sendelein, but he is a better insurance policy than Donovan Raiola would have been.

Bengals (keep CB Jamar Fletcher) – Fletcher, who played 11 games for Cincinnati last year, was on the outside looking in until David Jones’ injury opened a roster spot for him. The former first-round pick and 8-year veteran faces an uphill battle to make the roster, but at least he’s in a camp now.

Redskins (add WR D.J. Hackett) – Hackett, who showed potential in Seattle but busted out as a big free-agent addition in Carolina last year, hooked on with the Redskins after offseason import Roydell Williams was released because he broke a pinkie finger and would miss the next month. Hackett is big and has shown the ability to get downfield regularly, but his lack of consistency hampers him from being a regular rotation player. Hackett is the kind of veteran who can make a roster and help in case of injury – or in case of slow development of young receivers that are plentiful in Washington. But even if Hackett makes the team, he’ll probably be a game-day inactive until an injury or demotion opens the door for him.

Jets (add WR Aundrae Allison and TE Kevin Brock) – Allison, a former fifth-round pick, had just 18 catches in two seasons, and he was passed by youngsters Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. So the Vikings cut Allison, and then the Jets quickly grabbed him off waivers. He has average size but above-average speed, and that’s the reason he’s work a look. Allison could also figure in as a return specialist at a cheap price. Brock, an undrafted rookie who spent OTAs in Carolina, is a pass-catching tight end from Rutgers. He does what Dustin Keller can do, which should at least make it easier for the Jets to run their regular offensive sets with Mark Sanchez and the No. 2s. He’s a useful camp body, which shows the Jets are actually thinking as they try to prep Sanchez for the season.

Subtractions

Seahawks (cut OG Mike Wahle) – Wahle, a big-time free-agent signing last year who started all season, failed his physical before camp, and he was released. The 12-year veteran is reportedly considering retirement. The main upshot of Wahle’s release could be that second-round pick Max Unger has an easier path to a starting spot as a rookie.

Redskins (cut WR Roydell Williams) – Williams, who looked to be a fifth receiver, was waived/injured after suffering a broken pinkie that will sideline him until just before the regular season. Once he gets healthy, he could land somewhere as a backup receiver. He’s the kind of guy who could also go to the UFL and be a standout to try to enhance his value.

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Fantasy Football: Receivers update

A few name receivers have landed with new teams this week, and so we thought we’d give some fantasy analysis on them. For other fantasy players who have moved this offseason, check out this post. And you can of course find all of our fantasy football articles through the fantasy football category on our blog.

Chiefs add WR Amani Toomer – Toomer, the long-time Giant, no longer has any kind of breakaway speed, but he catches the ball when it’s thrown to him. It seems a little strange to have both Toomer and Bobby Engram on the same roster, which could even lead to one of them being released down the line. But if Mark Bradley doesn’t continue to emerge, then Toomer is a solid insurance policy. Probably the best-case scenario for the Chiefs is to have Toomer as their No. 4 receiver who can fill in outside if Bradley or Dwayne Bowe has to miss time. Relying on Toomer in fantasy football could prove to be a mistake, but he should be on your radar if Bradley or Bowe gets hurt. Toomer’s presence also limits Engram’s sleeper potential.

Redskins add WR D.J. Hackett – Hackett, who showed potential in Seattle but busted out as a big free-agent addition in Carolina last year, hooked on with the Redskins after offseason import Roydell Williams was released. Hackett is big and has shown the ability to get downfield regularly, but his lack of consistency hampers him from being a regular rotation player. Hackett is the kind of veteran who can make an NFL roster, but he’s not a fantasy option this year. You’d be much better off casting your lot with one of the Redskins’ younger receivers, Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas, instead of selecting Hackett in your draft, because even if Hackett makes the Redskins, he’ll probably be a game-day inactive until an injury or demotion opens the door for him.

Jets add WR Aundrae Allison – Allison, a former fifth-round pick, had just 18 catches in two seasons, and he was passed by youngsters Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. So the Vikings cut Allison, and then the Jets quickly grabbed him off waivers. He has average size but above-average speed, and that’s the reason he’s work a look. Allison could also figure in as a return specialist at a cheap price, but he doesn’t look to be a fantasy option, despite the Jets’ lack of receiver depth.

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