Report: Giants, Yannick Ngakoue had ‘mutual interest’

The New York Giants and edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue would have had mutual interest, but now he’ll be tagged by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jacksonville Jaguars intend to place the franchise tag on edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, which is bad news for both he and the New York Giants.

Ngakoue seemed genuinely excited by the prospect of free agency, and was spotted on social media flirting with the Giants and their fans numerous times this year. Needless to say, he wasn’t thrilled to learn that he’d be tagged.

As it turns out, Ngakoue may have ultimately gotten what he wanted if not for the franchise tag.

Matt Lombardo of NJ Advance Media reports that there was a mutual interest between Ngakoue and the Giants, although no one-on-one conversation had taken place based on the rules outlined in the collective bargaining agreement.

Had Ngakoue reached free agency, there would have been mutual interest between the Giants and the team and 24-year-old pass-rusher, according to multiple individuals familiar with the GIants’ plans and Ngakoue’s thinking.

Ultimately, the Jaguars may view this as an opportunity to get something in exchange for Ngakoue, who is unlikely to play on the franchise tag.

Could the Giants come calling? It’s certainly possible, says Lombardo.

It is unlikely that Ngakoue will play for the Jaguars under the franchise tag, which would force Jacksonville to trade him. The Giants certainly have the cap space, upwards of $73.9 million to spend, as well as a dire need for an elite pass rusher. What is not known is if the Giants and Jaguars will be able to come to terms on a trade.

The Giants could benefit from the Jaguars’ limited leverage in this situation after Ngakoue has publicly said his goodbyes to the Jaguars. In a similar situation last August, the Houston Texans traded edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for Jacob Martin, edge rusher Barkevious Mingo, and a third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The problem for Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is that he’s already spent two draft picks on Leonard Williams, who may not re-sign, leaving the team in need for more draft assets. As a result, they may not have the ammunition needed to pull off a potential trade for Ngakoue.

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Browns sign DE Robert McCray to the practice squad

McCray spent 2018 on the Chiefs practice squad as a UDFA from Indiana

The Cleveland Browns filled out the last remaining spot on the practice squad by signing free agent defensive end Robert McCray.

McCray joins the Browns after spending his previous NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was on the Chiefs’ practice squad during the 2018 season, his rookie campaign after being an undrafted free agent from Indiana.

He’s more of a run-oriented DE than the Browns have typically favored. McCray, listed at 6-1 and 275 pounds by the Chiefs this summer, had seven sacks and 9.5 TFLs in his final two seasons for the Hoosiers. He fills the practice squad vacancy created when Porter Gustin was promoted to the active 53-man roster.

Bryan Cox Jr.: What the Browns are getting in their new DE

A scouting report on new Browns EDGE Bryan Cox Jr., who will play a bigger role with Myles Garrett suspended

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By now you have probably heard that Myles Garrett is suspended and it appears it is going to be a long time before he dresses on Sundays again. Last week the Cleveland Browns signed Bryan Cox Jr. and despite being a pure reserve acquisition, it appears the young man may be thrust into duty and forced to see meaningful minutes. Garrett is an elite end, but below is a bit of what Cox can provide.

Height: 6-3

Weight: 265 pounds

Previous Team: Carolina Panthers

Cox went undrafted after the 2017 NFL Draft, which was a bit surprising after he completed a fairly solid collegiate career at Florida. Carolina snagged the DE/OLB right up and after failing to make the final roster in 2017 was placed on their practice squad until being called up early in the same season. Cox was on the Carolina active roster for the entire 2018 season, but failed to make the final cut for 2019 and has bounced back and forth from active to practice until he was snagged by Cleveland on November 13.

It is surprising that Cox was available mid-season as he does provide unique versatility with the ability to slide down to the inside as well as provide pressure from the edge. Many of the asthma issues that hampered Cox early in his career appear to have gone away, which also makes it more surprising that he was available for the Browns to snag. At only 25 years old, Cox has a few intriguing athletic traits that show potential for a potentially high ceiling.

Cox is not an NFL starter and although he has a few intriguing traits, it is more realistic for him to develop into a situational pass-rusher only. His injury history is not clean as he has numerous issues especially with asthma specifically and although it appears that is behind him, it is not a guarantee that it won’t be an issue in the future. Cox is an inconsistent player and inconsistency is why he went undrafted and why he has spent the majority of his professional career on practice squads.

You do not want Cox to start, because he can be a liability. Despite there being a few interesting traits and more than enough boxes are checked, Cox is not a finished product and is not ready for the big show. The reality is, Cox may be forced into action due to all of the suspensions and he can thrive in certain situations in limited snaps and that will be key moving forward.

Browns work out 10 players as suspensions loom

Browns work out 10 players with injuries and suspensions taking their toll

As suspensions for Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi loom, the Cleveland Browns hosted and worked out 10 NFL free agents.

Some of the names are recognizable, most notably Tank Carradine. He was a second-round pick by the 49ers in 2013 coming out of Florida State.

The list in alphabetical order:

B.J. Blunt, LB

Tank Carradine, DE

Jawill Davis, WR

A.J. Howard, DB

Damion Jeanpierre, WR

Tyron Johnson, WR

J’Mon Moore, WR

Jacob Thieneman, DB

Roc Thomas, RB

Leonard Wester, OT

The Browns immediately will need bodies on their defensive line and in the secondary with Garrett and Ogunjobi out with suspension and Morgan Burnett out for the season with an Achilles injury.

Top Canadian Football League prospects for the Browns to consider

The CFL has some prospects the Cleveland Browns should consider when that league wraps after the playoffs

The Canadian Football League is winding down and the CFL Semifinals will occur this weekend. NFL talent can be found anywhere and the CFL is often times a great place for unpolished talent to get ready for the big league and a perfect example is Oakland Raiders safety, Erik Harris, who snagged two interceptions last Thursday.

Harris was a raw defensive tweener prospect out of division two, California (PA), but had a ton of success refining his game with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 2013-2015. One of Harris’ former Hamilton teammates is another recognizable name in Delvin Breux, who started for the New Orleans Saints from 2015-2017.

The list of successful NFL players spending time in the CFL is longer than most realize and it includes former Browns, Andrew Hawkins and Jeff Garcia. Scouring CFL rosters is something every NFL team does every season in hopes of finding players ranging from quarterbacks like Doug Flutie, Warren Moon and Joe Theismann to defensive studs like Cameron Wake and Brandon Browner. Below are the top five guys the Cleveland Browns should have on their radar this season.

Tunde Adeleke, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, DB, 5-10, 208 pounds

A true Canadian, growing up in Ottawa, Adeleke was selected in the third round of the CFL Draft in 2017 by the Calgary Stampeders, but has really played at an elite All-CFL level for Hamilton. Adeleke has tallied career highs with 57 tackles and two interceptions this season and offenses were doing their best to avoid him. He also plays special teams both as a defender and as a returner. Still only 25 years old, Adeleke is CFL fast running a 4.58 40-yard dash, but that is a limitation in the NFL.

Adeleke did crank out 16 reps of 225 pounds at the CFL combine and that would have been an impressive number for defensive backs in the NFL combine. He plays faster than he times and has decent size, it is a reasonable expectation for Adeleke to provide depth in the defensive backfield and play a role on special teams.

Dashaun Amos, Calgary Stampeders, CB, 6-0, 193 pounds

Amos briefly got a shot with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent out of East Carolina in 2017, but was released after playing in all four preseason games. After his first NFL stint, Amos signed with Calgary halfway through the next season and spent most of his 2018 on the practice squad. This season was a breakthrough for Amos as his first full CFL season translated to him being named a CFL All-Star after recording 42 tackles and five interceptions.

Amos would have likely been up for the CFL Most Outstanding Rookie Award if not for playing two games during his shortened 2018. Amos is only 25 and plays the defensive halfback position in the CFL, which is responsible for covering the slotback. This is a tough job as the slotback typically moves with a forward motion before the snap, which should make him prepared for nickel or slot corner duties in the NFL.

Patrick Levels, Montreal Alouettes, DB, 5-11, 187 pounds

The former Baylor defender was never given an opportunity in the NFL, because he is the definition of a tweener as Baylor utilized Levels at their “Bear” position, which is a linebacker/safety hybrid. Levels lacks the size to play linebacker, but also lacks the athleticism to play defensive back. Levels started his CFL career in 2017 with the Calgary Stampeders but didn’t shine until this season, which was his first in Montreal where he was all over the field with 86 tackles and five sacks. He has clearly gotten better and despite his limitations, he flows to the ball effectively. At the very worst, you have a semi-versatile grinder who can contribute on special teams.

Winston Rose, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, DB, 6-0, 171 pounds

Another defensive backfield on this list, Rose is only in his third full CFL season and Winnipeg is already his fourth CFL team after playing briefly in Ottawa in 2017 and British Columbia in 2018. He played at a high level in college for New Mexico State after arriving via junior college and was able to have cups of coffee for the Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2016. Rose was signed as a late-season addition for the Toronto Argonauts and became a full-time CFL starter last season for B.C. This season Rose has elevated his game to earn All-CFL honors with 58 tackles and 9 interceptions.

Rose has always had supreme athleticism as evidenced by his 4.38 forty yard dash time at his pro day and many thought he would have been a late draft pick, but he was too raw to maintain a roster spot in 2016. Rose looks like he has grown a ton and should at the very least provide a spark on special teams and has enough skills to potentially grow into a contributing cornerback with ideal athleticism and ball skills.

Marcus Sayles, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, CB, 5-10, 180 pounds

There are more than a few young defensive backs in the CFL that had essentially zero technical skills coming out of college, but after a few years have developed some impressive tools and Sayles fits that description.

After going undrafted in 2017, Sayles spent some time with the Buffalo Bills and ended the season with the Los Angeles Rams. He was released prior to the start of the 2018 season and that is when Winnipeg snatched him up. Like Rose, Sayles has earned All-CFL honors and has a ton of physical tools to at the very least contribute on special teams. Coming out of West Georgia, Sayles ran a 4.42 at his pro day.

William Stanback, Montreal Alouettes, RB, 6-0, 233 pounds

Last but not least. Stanback was the former lead back for UCF in college and spent a short time with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2017. Stanback has had a weird career as he was All-AAC as a freshman in 2013 and was seen as a legit NFL caliber talent, but sputtered and disappointed the following two seasons and was dismissed before his final year and forced to transfer to Virginia Union.

Montreal snagged Stanback in 2018 to relieve CFL legend Tyrell Sutton, but Stanback was so dominating that the Alouettes elected to trade Sutton and Stanback finished the season as the starter. This season Stanback really displayed elite ability as he rushed for 1,048 yards and also snagged 33 receptions out of the backfield.

Stanback has always had NFL talent at over 230 pounds and running a 4.48, but he has failed multiple drug tests and needed to prove he has matured and is reliable. Since going up North, Stanback has been a perfect citizen and has earned another NFL shot.


Browns worked out two former Eagles defenders

Browns worked out two former Eagles defenders, Destiny Vaeao and Tre Sullivan

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This week’s Browns free agent workouts were rushed a bit with the team hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. Cleveland still managed to bring in a couple of former Philadelphia Eagles defenders to kick the tires on a possible signing.

Per Adam Caplan of Sirius XM NFL Radio, the Browns worked out safety Tre Sullivan and DT Destiny Vaeao.

Sullivan has spent most of his first two NFL seasons on the Eagles’ practice squad. He did not make the team out of the preseason and was drafted into the XFL, but is still trying to keep the NFL dream alive.

Vaeao played in all 16 games for the Eagles as a rookie when the team won the Super Bowl. He has battled injury issues since and was most recently with the Carolina Panthers.

Neither player was immediately signed.