Welcome to another edition of Hawks in The NFL. Although there isn’t much to update on after last week’s post following the roster cut deadline, there are some things to note about your favorite former Hawkeyes as many of them — after being released — were added to NFL practice squads or simply re-signed to the active 53-man roster.
And to be clear, these weekly posts won’t be a full update on every former Hawkeye in the league, as that would become rather tedious. Instead, view these posts as sort of an update on the most important and or fun bits of information I happen to stumble across throughout the week.
Mike Daniels is a player we touched on last week as a guy, once passing through waivers, would be signed by some team to an active 53-man roster. That said, as it turns out, Daniels has agreed to re-join the Cincinnati Bengals as a member of their practice squad, which in the past would’ve been disallowed, as Daniels has obviously played over two seasons in the NFL. That said, we’re living in the COVID-era and NFL teams are allowed six spots on the practice squad for players who have accrued over two seasons in the NFL and it appears one of those six spots has been used to retain Daniels.
It’s practice official. Mike Daniels is back pic.twitter.com/H8jlDao7uE— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) September 6, 2021
Jaleel Johnson is another name we spotlighted in last week’s post and, like Daniels, Johnson has been officially signed to a practice squad. That said, Johnson will not be returning to the Houston Texans as the New Orleans Saints have decided to acquire Johnson via free agency.
Johnson has been proven to be a competent run defender in the NFL and still at only 27 years of age, there’s still quite a bit of time left for improvement as a pass rusher. In New Orleans, Johnson joins a very young defensive-line room and will immediately fill the role as an established veteran for the upcoming season.
Saints' practice squad includes former Texans defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) September 6, 2021
It wasn’t much of a surprise that former Iowa tight end Shaun Beyer was released from the Denver Broncos, as a limited target share and snap count this preseason indicated that Beyer would not make the 53-man roster. That said, it also isn’t a surprise to see Beyer re-signed by the Broncos to the practice squad, as he showed serious flashes of potential this preseason, especially in the passing game, which was a question mark coming out of Iowa.
Outside of Noah Fant and second year tight end, Albert Okwuegbunam, there’s a serious drop off in tight end talent in Denver and Beyer will have ample opportunity to display his worth in practice as the season progresses.
Congrats to Kennedy Football alum Shaun Beyer on being signed to the Denver Broncos practice squad! NFL! Roll COUGS! pic.twitter.com/ilgtY5U8Tn— CR Kennedy Football (@CRKFootball) September 1, 2021
In addition to Shaun Beyer being re-signed by the Denver Broncos to the practice squad, former Iowa linebacker, Barrington Wade, has also found his way on to the Broncos practice squad in a non-surprising move.
Wade brings the Broncos quality ability on special teams and, considering his athleticism, a move up to the active roster sometime this season is certainly in the realm of possibility.
Barrington Wade barely saw the field his first four years at Iowa, took a developmental jump in Year 5 to earn some (limited) time when Hawkeyes went 4-3 and now is on an NFL practice squad. https://t.co/NXNVv4oldJ— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) September 1, 2021
In last week’s “Hawks in The NFL” post, I mentioned how the release of former Iowa offensive guard, Cole Banwart, came as a bit of a surprise. Well, now that we’re operating with much more context, the move is a little bit more clear, as Banwart has been added to the reserve/COVID-19 list for the Tennessee Titans.
It’s unfortunate to see some former Hawkeyes ending up on that list, as it almost certainly means they are dealing with the COVID-19 virus. Moving forward, hopefully Banwart is able to maintain good health with limited symptoms and makes a full recovery to chase his NFL dream.
Titans' Cole Banwart and Chiefs' Tyrann Mathieu both tested positive for COVID-19— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) September 1, 2021
Former Iowa wide receiver, Brandon Smith, was one of the surprise releases of the offseason across the NFL, as his athletic profile and size combined with legitimate flashes in the preseason potentially made him a candidate to get snagged by a different team while passing through waivers.
That said, Smith has officially been re-signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad where he’ll have a serious shot to make an impression on the Cowboys coaching staff and given his showings so far in the NFL, I imagine that we’ll be hearing more of him before season’s end.
Cowboys are stacked at WR, but Brandon Smith looked great in the preseason. Has the size and demeanor of a solid NFL receiver. Hope to see him land somewhere with a role or, at minimum, Cowboys practice squad. https://t.co/sRJN9ncu4E— Ben Coker (@BenCoker3) September 1, 2021
Last week, I made the judgment to slot James Ferentz under the category of “uncertain NFL future.” Well, I should’ve known better as Ferentz continues to stick around the NFL at age 32, after being re-signed by the New England Patriots to their practice squad.
Keeping a 32-year-old veteran with very limited game experience on a practice squad is highly unusual. However, there’s clearly some behind-the-scenes intangibles that Ferentz brings to the table that continues to keep him in good favor with NFL teams and are we really all that surprised?
Following his release at the roster cut deadline, former Hawkeye long snapper, Casey Kreiter, is the one person on this list to be re-signed by the team that released him to the 53-man roster.
Following the release of Kreiter, the New York Giants wanted to see a bit more from some of the bubble players on their roster and figured they’d be able to re-sign Kreiter once their full evaluation was complete and as it turns out, they were correct; I suppose there’s not a high-strung market in the NFL for veteran long snappers.
Giants signed C.J. Board and Casey Kreiter— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) September 2, 2021
One of the biggest secrets for Iowa fans this offseason, as it pertains to the NFL, was “where in the heck is Nate Stanley?” Well, as the weeks passed this preseason, it became clear that Stanley was dealing with some sort of injury that held him out of action. As a result, Stanley was released on an injury basis and then re-signed by the Minnesota Vikings after passing through waivers.
Given the Vikings’ signing of former quarterback Sean Mannion, it appears the injury to Stanley is serious, which is unfortunate. We wish him the best of luck and health moving forward.
A NOTE FOR THE UNCERTAIN…
At the end of the day, the NFL is a harsh business and many former Hawkeyes who may have the talent or potential to latch on to an NFL roster don’t end up doing so for whatever reason. Last week, the uncertain list included names such as:
Nate Wieting, TE
Greg Mabin, CB
Cedrick Lattimore, DL
Ross Reynolds, IOL
Jake Gervase, DB/LB
Coy Cronk, OT
As of now, none of those names have appeared on practice squads nor have they been linked to any affiliation with a team. That’s not to say those names won’t appear sometime down the line this season, heck, they may even appear in a week or so given the nature of the NFL. That said, their futures remain uncertain and if we’ve seen the last of their professional football journey, we wish them all the best.