With the NFL Draft about a week away, there have been some snapping moves as teams get ready to starting completing their rosters. The Chiefs waived Brandon Hartson and the Steelers claimed him off waivers the next day. The Seahawks waived Luke Ingram and Patrick Scales of the Ravens signed his one year exclusive rights contract.
As a result of these moves, the Chiefs now have snappers Jorgen Hus and James Winchester on the roster, the Ravens have Morgan Cox and Scales and the Steelers have Greg Warren and Hartson.
Three other teams also have two snappers under contract, namely, the Browns (Christian Yount/Charley Hughlett), Cowboys (L.P. Ladouceur/Casey Kreiter) and Vikings (Cullen Loeffler/Kevin McDermott).
With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching at the end of the month, the number of transactions in the NFL are starting to slow down. In what may be one of the last moves involving a snapper before the Draft, Kevin McDermott has signed with the Vikings.
McDermott, who was not tendered by the Ravens as an exclusive rights free agent, will compete with veteran Cullen Loeffler in training camp.
The two remaining unrestricted free agent long snappers that snapped in the NFL last season are Danny Aiken and Jeremy Cain.
Regular readers of Longsnap.com are already very familiar with the incredible story of Nate Boyer and his journey to college long snapper at the University of Texas. Now, at age 34, Boyer is trying to add another chapter by getting into an NFL camp.
Today, Peter King of The MMQB included Boyer as his lead in his regular Monday column. King has already called it one of his favorite stories and labelled Boyer “The NFL’s Most Improbable Prospect.”
King’s piece does an excellent job describing Boyer’s history and laying out the pros and cons that Boyer faces to make the NFL. The obstacles include the lack of turnover at the snapping position, his age and size (Boyer is 5′ 11” and 220 pounds). To his credit, however, Boyer has the accuracy and speed for the position and the support of Colts snapper Matt Overton.
Although many long snappers looking for a shot in the NFL face similar barriers, Boyer’s history suggests that he has overcome much larger odds. As a result, it is hard to bet against him.
The only snapper signing of the past week involved client Clint Gresham, who re-signed with the Seahawks for three more years. With the signing of Gresham, who was an unrestricted free agent, just three veteran free agent long snappers remain on the market. Danny Aiken, Jeremy Cain and Kevin McDermott are the only unsigned unrestricted free agents.
The NFL League Meetings are taking place this week in Arizona and marks the time when possible rule changes are considered. The extra point remains a key focus of proposed changes but will remain as is, at least for now.
There were no votes taken on the issue of the extra point, although there was some lengthy and varied debate about alternative ideas. Instead, it appears that the NFL’s Competition Committee, with input from coaches, will develop alternatives that will be presented at the next meeting this May. At this point, it does appear clear that the extra point, one of the key functions of a long snapper, will be very different for the 2015 season.
One rule that did pass involving snappers will prohibit players from pushing teammates in an attempt to block a punt.
With free agency well into its second week, veteran snapper signings have continued. Morgan Cox reached a one-year deal to stay with the Ravens, while former Chiefs snapper Thomas Gafford signed a one-year deal with the Bears.
Gafford is one of the rare instances where a snapper has changed teams during veteran free agency. At the time of his signing, the Bears were the only team without a snapper on the roster after Jeremy Cain handled the snapping duties last season. Cain remains one of the few remaining veteran free agent snappers on the market.
Dallas also signed Casey Kreiter, who was in camp with them last season, as competition for veteran LP Ladouceur.
In the last few days, there have been two new long snapper signings. The Jets brought back veteran Tanner Purdum on a two-year deal, while the Chiefs added street free agent James Winchester.
Winchester has prior experience with the Eagles and is now the third snapper on the roster for Kansas City. He joins Jorgen Hus and Brandon Hartson as it appears that the Chiefs may have moved on from veteran Thomas Gafford, who is an unrestricted free agent.