It’s been a busy week as the NFL rolls on toward its opening day, Thursday, September 10. As teams get into pads and begin scrimmages, there have been a few signings and moves that could make an impact on the new NFL season. Below is a look at a few of the latest headlines.
Theo Riddick signs with the Las Vegas Raiders
Is this big news? Probably not. There was a moment of panic for Josh Jacobs owners, but I’m here to urge panic. First, there’s no guarantee he makes the final roster. Remember Jon Gruden’s flirtation with Jeremy Hill that lasted a couple days? Second, Riddick specializes as a pass catcher, which isn’t Jacobs’ forte. Jacobs is a pounder. He had 242 carries for 1,150 yards despite having a broken shoulder for half a season. He only caught 20 passes during that time. Your investment in him should be as a pounder, and that seems safe.
The Raiders have several other backs already on the roster, including veteran Jalen Richard, rookie Lynn Bowden, Jr., and free agent Devontae Booker, formerly of Denver. It’s clear the team is looking for a complimentary back, especially in the receiving game. Last season DeAndre Washington, now in Kansas City, and Richard each registered 36 receptions. But it’s a place where there is room for improvement.
Riddick was signed to do that same for Denver in 2019, but ended up injured in the pre-season and never took a regular season snap. Before that, he was quite successful as a receiver in Detroit. In 2015 he caught 80 passes, with 53 receptions in 2016 and 2017 and then 61 receptions in his final season in Detroit in 2018. If anything, his signing is an indictment of Richard and Bowden in 2020. The Raiders are looking for some pop, and Riddick has the potential to provide that as a receiving weapon out of the backfield. It’s worth watching—and he’s worth stashing if he makes the final roster.
Earl Thomas out in Baltimore
In the biggest surprise of the week, Adam Schefter reported Sunday morning that Earl Thomas’ time in Baltimore is over. This comes after he was sent home from practice following an altercation with a teammate on Thursday. He hasn’t been back since, and now he’s out due to conduct detrimental to the team.
The early report is the team hopes to trade him, which won’t be easy, or will release him. Either way, Baltimore will take a substantial cap hit and lose an experienced veteran from their secondary. If he hits the open market, Thomas will likely find a suitor quickly, possibly in the Dallas Cowboys. This marks the second time Thomas, a Pro Bowler, has had an ugly exit from a team after leaving the Seahawks in similar fashion following the first nine years of his career.
Whatever his issues off the field, Thomas has been a force at safety. He’ll likely find a soft landing and contribute in 2020, while the Ravens are left with a hole to fill in a crowded and deep AFC field.
Cole McDonald Released
It’s not incredibly surprising a Seventh Round Draft Pick didn’t make the final roster in Tennessee, but it’s a blow to Dynasty owners who had stashed him on Taxi Squads and at the end of the roster. McDonald, out of Hawaii, seemed in decent shape behind veteran Ryan Tannehill, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career. The Titans seemed to want some security for those same reasons, signing veteran Trevor Siemian.
McDonald is viewed as a prospect. He threw for 8,032 yards and 70 TDs in college. With the Practice Squad set at 16 for 2020 it figures McDonald will have a shot with another team or could end up back with the Titans.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.