My post this morning provided an updated look at the snapping situation around the NFL with the start of training camps. Had I waited until today’s transaction deadline, I would have included the Chiefs signing Drew Scott after placing James Winchester on the COVID reserve list. In addition, the Texans waived Mitchell Fraboni after recently adding him to the roster.
So, at least for now, we are back to 10 teams with two snappers on the roster with the Chiefs replacing the Texans.
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Every NFL training camp will be underway by tomorrow, so this is a good time to look at the snapping situation across the League. Ten teams have two snappers in camp after the Dolphins waived Rex Sunahara a few days ago. Of the ten teams, Carolina and Minnesota have rookie snappers from April’s Draft class. Camaron Cheeseman is the other rookie and the only snapper on the Washington roster.
With COVID cases rising and teams having issues getting all players vaccinated, I anticipate some teams will be cautious and keep a snapper on the practice squad in case of emergency similar to last season.
Below are the ten clubs starting training camp with two snappers:
College football season will be here soon as evidenced by the release of Phil Steele’s 2021 College Football Preview magazine. Volume 27 is, once again, a must-have for any college football fan and especially one that follows long snappers.
Like every year, this is the only magazine to devote specific attention to long snappers. One of the ways Phil Steele does this is his All-American Team that features a snapper on all four teams, as well as his selection of the top four snappers for each conference.
This year’s First Team All-American snapper is Damon Johnson (USC). Johnson was First Team last year, a Mannelly Award finalist and now back for another season thanks to COVID. Cal Adomitis (Pittsburgh) is Second Team, Keegan Markgraf (Utah) is Third Team and Adam Higuera (Tulsa) is Fourth Team. Higuera was also Fourth Team last year.
With off-season workouts concluded and training camps scheduled for late next month in the NFL, one snapper was signed and one was waived.
Mitchell Fraboni signed with the Texans. He is from the 2019 NFL Draft class and, while he has had some tryouts, this is his first NFL contract. The Patriots waived Wes Farnsworth, who was recently signed.
With these moves, 11 NFL teams are expected to open training camps with two snappers on the 90-man roster.
This time of year tends to be a slow period for NFL news, but there have been a few developments that impact the snapping position and long snappers.
The Bills signed Reid Ferguson to a three-year contract extension that will keep him under contract until 2024.
Bengals snapper Dan Godsil appears to have retired after being placed on the Reserved/Retired list, leaving veteran Clark Harris as the only snapper on the roster.
Brian Schneider, who was to lead the special teams units for the Jaguars, stepped away for personal reasons. Schneider was replaced by Nick Sorensen
Finally, the USFL may be returning from a decades-long hiatus and could potentially offer long snappers a viable outdoor playing option. Caution is advised, however, as there have been many leagues that have come and gone over the years including:
Last week brought a few new long snapping transactions in the NFL. The Ravens waived Brian Khoury, who they signed earlier this year, leaving just Nick Moore on the roster. The Patriots signed first-year snapper Wes Farnsworth, who has prior training camp experience with the Dolphins and Broncos. With these two moves, there are still 12 NFL teams with two snappers on the 90-man roster.
There was at least two snappers that received tryouts last week, although in the off-season tryouts are not often publicly reported. The Broncos specialist tryout included rookie Seth Cottengim, who was with Denver for rookie mini-camp, and Matt Tunnacliffe, from Dayton and the 2019 NFL Draft class.
Rookie mini-camps are complete and it does not appear either of the two snappers who received tryouts were signed. If that remains accurate, only four snappers from this year’s Draft class earned contracts, as two snappers were drafted and two others were signed as undrafted free agents.
The Titans waived Matt Orzech last week and he was later claimed by the Rams. After that move, the Rams waived Colin Holba, leaving Orzech and Steven Wirtel on the roster.
A total of 12 teams, Ravens, Panthers, Bengals, Lions, Packers, Raiders, Chargers, Rams, Dolphins, Vikings, Giants and Steelers, have two snappers on the 90 man roster as of today.
After two long snappers were drafted and two signed free agent deals, there have been three additional moves this past week.
Scott Daly, from the 2018 Draft class, has signed with the Lions. Daly initially signed with the Cowboys in 2018 and has prior time in the AAF and XFL. Two other member of this year’s Draft class have earned mini-camp tryouts this weekend. Kyle Poland (West Virginia) will tryout with the Texans, while Seth Cottengim (Arkansas State) will tryout with the Broncos.
As mentioned previously, teams are only allowed five players for tryouts so many snappers will not be able to even get an opportunity to earn a contract.
Long snapping was in the spotlight today for a great reason, as two long snappers were selected in the Sixth Round of the NFL Draft.
Alabama’s Thomas Fletcher was taken by the Panthers as the 38th pick (222 overall) and Michigan’s Camaron Cheeseman was selected by Washington as the 41st pick (225 overall).
After the Draft, at least two long snappers have signed free agent deals as Ryan Langan is signing with the Chargers and Turner Bernard is inking a deal with the Vikings.
Fletcher was the winner of this year’s Patrick Mannelly Award for the best senior FBS long snapper, while Langan was one of the three finalists and Bernard one of 10 semi-finalists. Cheeseman did not snap this year so was not considered for the Award.
Stay tuned for any additional signings or tryouts.
After last year’s NFL Draft that consisted of just a few Pro Days and no rookie mini-camps or tryouts, I wrote about the particular challenges for long snappers. With this year’s Draft starting Thursday, it could be another difficult time for this year’s Draft-eligble snappers.
While Pro Days happened without any issues, the NFL just announced that tryouts will be limited to 5 players per team. Prior to last season, many NFL teams would bring in a snapper for rookie mini-camps on a tryout basis, but those opportunities will be limited once again this year.
To get a shot this year, a snapper must be drafted, signed to an undrafted free agent contract or be lucky enough to be one of the 5 players given a tryout. Last year, one snapper was drafted and just a few signed free agent deals and that reality could repeat next weekend.
With the Packers recent signing of street free agent Joe Fortunato, nine teams have two snappers on the roster. The others are the Ravens, Bengals, Raiders, Rams, Dolphins, Giants, Steelers and Titans. Only the Washington Football Team has no snapper under contract.
The Longsnap.com blog will be updated with all the snapping developments from the Draft next weekend.