Extra Points: Broncos, Packers, Panthers

The Broncos have a new backup quarterback, as head coach Vance Joseph told reporters Chad Kelly is now the club’s top reserve to starter Case Keenum (Twitter link via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic). Former first-round pick Paxton Lynch continued his abysmal NFL run by completing just 6-of-11 passes for 24 yards and one interception during Denver’s first preseason games, while Kelly — the 2017 drat’s Mr. Irrelevant — completed 14-of-21 attempts for 177 yards, two scores, and one interception. Clearly, the Broncos’ decision isn’t solely based on the results of a single exhibition contest, as Lynch also played poorly in two starts last season. Given Kelly’s inexperience, and Lynch’s lack of results, Denver could conceivably aim to acquire a veteran No. 2 signal-caller before the 2018 season gets underway.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Geronimo Allison has “quietly established himself” as the Packers‘ No. 3 receiver behind Davante Adams and Randall Cobb, as Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette writes. Green Bay used three Day 3 draft picks on receivers, adding J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown in the process, while futures contract signee Jake Kumerow has also shined during training camp. But it’s the 24-year-old Allison, who landed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2016, who is likely to play in three-wide sets. Allison, who would play on the outside and allow Cobb to move to the slot in “11” personnel, put up 23 receptions and 253 yards in 2017.
  • Panthers rookie cornerback Donte Jackson has given head coach Ron Rivera a comfort level in the secondary he hasn’t had in two-to-three years, per Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Jackson, the 55th overall selection earlier this year, stands 5’11”, 175 pounds, so he was pegged as a slot-only corner as he entered the NFL. However, Carolina has been adamant that Jackson will get an opportunity on the outside, and it’s possible the LSU product will start in Week 1. In fact, after fellow corner Ross Cockrell suffered a season-ending injury, Jackson may be the favorite to play alongside James Bradberry.
  • Free agent cornerback Julian Wilson worked out for the Titans on Sunday, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Wilson, 26, went undrafted out of Oklahoma in 2015 before landing a contract with the Ravens. A broken leg ended his rookie season during minicamp, and Wilson subsequently spent time on the Chiefs and Vikings practice squads during the 2016 campaign. A futures deal with the Chiefs in 2017 never led to a serious look, so Wilson signed on with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League during the regular season. If signed by Tennessee, Wilson would compete for time on special teams.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Dolphins, Pats, Brady

Kicker Cairo Santos didn’t play in the Jets‘ first preseason game and hasn’t been practicing as he deals with a chronic groin injury, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. This issue has come up for Santos in the past: in 2017, he missed most of training camp with the Chiefs with the same ailment, then subsequently aggravated the injury in Week 3, leading to his release. He latched on with the Bears, but the same groin problem forced Santos to injured reserve after he underwent a surgical procedure. While Santos calls his current regimen “a normal process,” New York isn’t going to keep two kickers on its 53-man squad, so Santos’ roster spot could be in danger as the regular season approaches. The Jets have just one other kicker on their roster (2016 undrafted free agent Taylor Bertolet), while free agent options include Nick Novak, Giorgio Tavecchio, Connor Barth, and Nick Folk.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker is considered “week-to-week” with a broken middle finger on his right hand, tweets Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. While the Dolphins are “hopeful” Parker will be available for Week 1, Miami head coach Adam Gase said Parker isn’t currently able to catch footballs, per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). The Dolphins invested in their wideout corps this offseason, signing both Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson to multi-year deals. Those two veterans, when added to holdovers Kenny Stills and Leonte Carroo, should give Miami enough depth to withstand a potential Parker absence. Parker, a first-round pick in the 2016 draft, hauled in 57 catches for 670 yards and one touchdown a season ago.
  • Speaking of injuries, the unspecified injury Jets wide receiver Terrelle Pryor suffered in May was actually a broken ankle, per Cimini (Twitter links). It was a new break for Pryor, who also broke his ankle in 2017 with the Redskins (an injury which subsequently landed him on injured reserve). New York head coach Todd Bowles was apparently not pleased at Pryor’s disclosure, telling reporters that Pryor should “keep his mouth shut” with regard to injury news. Pryor, who posted only 20 receptions in 11 games with Washington last season, inked a one-year, $4.5MM with Gang Green that contains $2MM in full guarantees.
  • Asked about his previously hinted desire to play until he’s 45 years old, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady mostly deflected, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. “You know, I think you always have short-term goals and long-term goals and this year’s the one I’m focused on and obviously I want to play for a long time so I’ve said that for a while,” Brady said. “Feel like I’m a broken record. You know, it’s really this year is the focus and this team. This team needs a great quarterback and you know, hopefully I can go out and be that.”

Dolphins Unlikely To Sign CB Bashaud Breeland

The Dolphins are unlikely to sign free agent cornerback Bashaud Breeland after meeting with him last week, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.

Miami is searching for a starting corner to play opposite Xavien Howard, but it doesn’t appear as though Breeland is healthy enough to play immediately, per Salguero. Breeland, of course, agreed to a three-year, $24MM deal with the Panthers earlier this year, but that contract was voided after he failed a physical. A foot injury that was subsequently infected is reportedly the root cause of Breeland’s health question marks.

Breeland, 26, hasn’t been wanting for interest this offseason, as he’s either met with or been linked to the Raiders, Ravens, Browns, Colts, Chiefs, and Jets. However, no club has yet to sign Breeland, and while injury issues are surely playing a part in most teams’ decision not to ink the veteran defensive back, the Ravens — for one — believe he’s asking for too much money.

For now, the Dolphins are hoping one of Tony Lippett, Cordrea Tankersley, or Torry McTyer proves capable of playing alongside Howard as a starter. Aside from Breeland, other available corners include Adam Jones, Jeremy Lane, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Kayvon Webster, and Orlando Scandrick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ben Roethlisberger In Concussion Protocol

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is in the concussion protocol after absorbing a hit during Thursday’s practice, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.

Roethlisberger reportedly ran into right tackle Marcus Gilbert and linebacker Keion Adams while rolling to the right, and was subsequently escorted off the field by trainers. The veteran quarterback, whom Fowler notes last suffered a concussion during the 2015 campaign, hadn’t been scheduled to play in Pittsburgh’s Thursday tilt against Green Bay, but Roethlisberger’s availability for the remainder of the preseason is now in question.

Based on a typical concussion timeline, the 36-year-old Roethlisberger will return in time for Week 1 of the regular season. If complications arise, however, the Steelers would turn to backup Landry Jones, with recent draft picks Mason Rudolph and Joshua Dobbs in reserve.

As Fowler adds, Roethlisberger has previously stated that “long-term brain health” would play a role in the length of his NFL career. Roethlisbeger reportedly mulled retirement after the 2016 season, but told teammates in January he’d like to play at least three more years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Carson Wentz On Week 1: “It’s Going To Be Close”

Carson Wentz is already likely to sit out the entirety of the preseason as he recovers from a December ACL injury, but the Eagles quarterback today admitted that he may not be ready for Week 1 of the regular season, either.

[RELATED: Alshon Jeffery To Miss Games?]

“I obviously would love to be out there,” Wentz said, per Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “That’s been my goal all offseason ever since the injury. It’s going to be close. It’s going to be close. I’m still eyeing that date. At the end of the day, it’s not just my decision. There’s coaches and doctors that really have the final say. I really like where I’m at and time will tell here.”

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson would prefer Wentz handles a week of 11-on-11 work before playing in a regular season game, tweets Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Wentz, for his part, told reporters he expects to be cleared for 11-on-11 sessions next week, although that won’t entail him being cleared for contact, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Heading into Week 1 without Wentz, who was playing at an MVP-caliber level in 2017 before injuring his knee, clearly isn’t preferable, but the Eagles do have Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles in tow as a more-than-capable reserve. Other quarterbacks on Philadelphia’s roster include Nate SudfeldJoe Callahan and the recently-signed Christian Hackenberg.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Reached Out To DRC Last Week

The Redskins reached out to free agent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie last week, according to JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter links).

Washington’s interest in Rodgers-Cromartie sheds light on the club’s decision to release fellow cornerback Orlando Scandrick earlier today. As Finlay notes, the fact that the Redskins looked into DRC doesn’t mean he’ll sign (or even meet) with Washington, but the move to cut Scandrick clearly wasn’t executed without the Redskins first exploring other options.

The Redskins were Rodgers-Cromartie’s first visit at the outset of free agency, but his asking price was too high for Washington at that time, reports John Keim of ESPN.com. Since then, DRC has worked out for the Seahawks while the Chargers and Raiders have reportedly eyed the 32-year-old defensive back.

Scandrick had been projected as Washington’s slot corner, and that’s a role with which Rodgers-Cromartie is extremely familiar. However, the Redskins are pleased with their more youthful options, as Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, and supplemental draft pick Adonis Alexander are now expected to see more time. But head coach Jay Gruden didn’t rule out the possibility of signing a veteran, per Kimberely A. Martin of the Washington Post.

“We still have time,” Gruden said. “If it doesn’t work out, or somebody gets injured, we still have time to make moves also ourselves. … We’re going to go with what we have. We may sign another here shortly.”

In 2017, Rodgers-Cromartie appeared in 15 games (six starts) for the Giants, managing 31 tackles, a half-sack, and one pass defensed while grading as the NFL’s No. 58 cornerback, per Pro Football Focus. On 25 targets, DRC allowed 7.2 yards per pass, more than double his 2016 average of 3.5.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/14/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

San Francisco 49ers

  • Waived: OL Alan Knott

Seattle Seahawks

  • Waived from injured reserve: OL Avery Young

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chiefs To Meet With Orlando Scandrick

Orlando Scandrick hasn’t been a free agent for long, but he’s already drawing interest. The cornerback will fly to meet with the Chiefs on Tuesday night, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets

[RELATED: Redskins Release Orlando Scandrick]

The Redskins cut Scandrick on Tuesday morning, a surprising move since he inked a lucrative free agent deal with them just five months ago. For what it’s worth, head coach Jay Gruden claims the decision was not tied to the veteran’s performance.

It has nothing to do with his play. It was really the emergence of the rookies and [we] wanted Orlando to latch on to another team,” Gruden said “No one could have predicted [the emergence of] [Ranthony] Texada or Danny Johnson.”

In his final year with the Cowboys, Scandrick graded out as one of the 15 worst qualified cornerbacks in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. The advanced metrics have not been high on him since 2014, but he did have an okay showing in his injury-shortened 2016 campaign.

The Chiefs have been in the market for cornerback support, as evidenced by their recent meeting with Bashaud Breeland. Breeland is probably KC’s preferred option, but with several teams in the mix for him, they may have to settle for another former Redskin.

The Chiefs project to use newcomers Kendall Fuller and David Amerson as their top corners with Steven Nelson and Will Redmond among those in the rotation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins To Sign DT Kendall Langford

The Dolphins have agreed to sign defensive tackle Kendall Langford, according to a source who spoke with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). Terms of the deal are not yet known, but it’s likely a one-year deal with little or no guarantees. 

Langford, 32, entered the league as a third-round pick of the Dolphins in 2008 and spent the first four years of his career in Miami. Since then, he’s also had stints with the Rams (three seasons), Colts (two seasons), and the Texans (one game in 2017).

Langford offers a wealth of NFL experience, as he’s appeared in 136 games (113 starts) during his pro career. Unfortunately, it has been a while since he’s made a major impact on the field. In 2016, Langford lasted just seven games before the Colts placed him on injured reserve with a knee injury. Then, last year, the Texans signed him after both J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus suffered season-ending injuries, but his time in Houston was very short-lived.

Still, Langford was a productive NFL starter as recently as 2015. In that season with the Colts, he tallied a career-high seven sacks and 38 total tackles. He’ll look to get back to his old form as a reserve with the Dolphins, if he can make the cut as a reserve behind projected starters Akeem Spence and Davon Godchaux.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Rams, Donald, Raiders, Penn

The Chiefs gave up on Marcus Peters largely because of his conduct in the locker room. Peters was the source of many headaches in KC, but head coach Sean McVay says the Rams did their homework on the cornerback before trading for him this offseason.

You talk to the people that have been around him, that you really value their opinion, you trust it,” McVay said (via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com). “Got a lot of good things that came back in terms of a guy that loves football, does a lot of really good things for his community.”

The Rams added other bold personalities on defense, including cornerback Aqib Talib and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, but McVay isn’t concerned about how everyone will gel. McVay feels that 71-year-old defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has “more swag” than all of them combined and has the ability to keep them in line.

Here’s more from the West divisions:

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