Lions signed DE/OLB Phillip Hunt.
Hunt made a name for himself in Canada by leading the CFL in sacks in 2010. That led to a two-year stint with the Eagles and an invite to Colts' training camp last offseason. Even if he makes the Lions' final roster, we don't expect to see much of Hunt next season.
Dolphins released WR Brian Hartline.
A low-ceiling receiver who is allergic to the end zone, Hartline bottomed out with a miserable 2014 season (39 catches for 474 yards in 16 games). It would have been preposterous for Miami to keep him at his $5.9 million salary. The 28-year-old does have a pair of 1,000-yard seasons on his resume, but he's not the type of receiver you give heavy snaps to or build a team around. Hartline's departure makes the Dolphins more likely to keep Mike Wallace and gives another boost to second-year slot WR Jarvis Landry. Hartline is nothing more than a No. 4 receiver.
When asked if Devonta Freeman was ready to become the Falcons' feature back, GM Thomas Dimitroff said, "no question."
We figured as much after Steven Jackson was handed his walking papers on Thursday. Freeman showed flashes as a rookie, producing 248 yards on the ground and another 225 through the air. Atlanta is going to be a pass-first offense as long as Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are running the show, but Freeman should still have plenty of opportunities to contribute.
Falcons released WR Harry Douglas.
Douglas has been a productive wideout in Atlanta when either Julio Jones or Roddy White has been injured, but he’s going to be 31 this season and new OC Kyle Shanahan's offense is going to go through Jones even more than it has in the past. There was no reason to pay all three of Jones, White, and Douglas. The Falcons can get Douglas’ production as the No. 3 receiver at a much cheaper rate via a bargain free-agent signing or mid-round draft pick. The Falcons pick up $3.5 million in cap space by cutting Douglas, who posted a 51-556-2 line in 2014.
The release of Anthony Fasano makes Travis Kelce an "every-down tight end."
Aside from athletic freak Jamaal Charles, Kelce was arguably the Chiefs' most prolific offensive player last season, grabbing 67 catches for 862 yards and five scores. Kelce might never leave the field now that Fasano is out of the picture. Assuming a clean bill of health, Kelce could easily put up Greg Olsen numbers next season (84 receptions, 1,008 yards, six touchdowns in 2014).
Draft Insider Tony Pauline reports the Titans and Jaguars have "lots of interest" in Missouri OLB Shane Ray.
Tennessee and Jacksonville hold the Nos. 2 and 3 overall picks in the draft, respectively. Ray's "buzz" hasn't been as high the past week because he didn't participate at the Combine due to a foot injury. But most view him as a locked-in top-10 overall pick who may not get past the Falcons at No. 8. We've seen him projected as high as No. 3 to the Jaguars. Both the Titans and Jaguars could use some youth and/or pass-rush juice off the edge. Ray stands in at 6'3/245.
Jeremy Hill averaged 5.6 yards per carry and a touchdown per game in the seven contests where he handled 15-plus carries as a rookie.
Whereas Hill dominated in the feature back role, Gio Bernard was less effective on expanded rushing usage, managing a 4.12 YPC average and 0.7 TDs in his seven games with 14-plus carries. As beat writer Paul Dehner notes, Gio "excelled once shifted into a more situational, receiving role late in the season." Expect Hill to remain the Bengals' clear-lead running back in 2015.
Kiko Alonso (ACL surgery) says he'll "definitely" be 100 percent for the start of training camp.
Alonso enjoyed a dominant rookie season in 2013 (159 tackles, four INTs), but had his sophomore campaign stripped away because of a knee injury. Seven months after surgery, Alonso has progressed to rehabbing four to five times a week. Buffalo's front seven should be downright frightening with Alonso returning to the fold as long as it can also re-sign pass rusher Jerry Hughes.