AFC Rumors: Osweiler, Flacco, Bills, Jaguars

Earlier this week, Joe Thomas was asked if he could name all 18 quarterbacks the Browns have started during his tenure. The perennial All-Pro left tackle passed the test, and with Cody Kessler having been demoted to third string for now, that number figures to expand to at least 19 this season. Thomas believes the other veteran in the clubhouse will be the Week 1 starter.

I might be going out on a limb here, but I think they’re grooming Brock (Osweiler) to be the starter in Week 1 based on what I’ve seen,” Thomas said, via the Associated Press’ Tom Withers. “It is a competition, but I would expect Brock to win because of his experience.”

Osweiler’s primary competition is now DeShone Kizer, the team’s second-round pick who fared well against Saints backups in the Browns’ preseason opener. Kizer remains in the mix due to a combination of physical skills and instincts for the position, Mary Kay Cabot of notes.

Here’s the latest out of the AFC:

  • John Harbaugh, per Jamison Hensley of, said Joe Flacco won’t practice this coming week as the Ravens starting quarterback continues to recover from a back injury. This will mean four straight weeks without practice for the 10th-year passer,’s Ian Rapoport points out (via Twitter). The plan remains for Flacco to start in Week 1 against the Bengals, but if the 32-year-old signal-caller doesn’t practice during Week 3 of the preseason, the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zreibec notes (on Twitter) Flacco will get two weeks at most of work before the Baltimore opener. And Zreibec is skeptical he will get that much work (Twitter link).
  • Reggie Ragland has yet to assimilate well into Sean McDermott‘s scheme, and Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News expects the Bills to attempt to trade the ex-Alabama stalwart. Carucci notes a trade to a team that uses a 3-4 defense would make sense. Buffalo has shifted to a 4-3, and the 2016 second-round pick’s current status — stationed on the third team — is not exactly acceptable for such a big recent investment. PFR’s Dallas Robinson put Ragland on his list of trade candidates.
  • Should Cordy Glenn‘s foot trouble linger much longer, Carucci expects the Bills to target outside tackle help. Specifying the waiver wire as the player-procurement practice of choice to add a tackle, Carucci notes second-round rookie Dion Dawkins would be the top in-house option to start there if Glenn is unable to man his post. After Austin Pasztor‘s Falcons agreement, the tackle market looks thin. McDermott said (via Mike Rodak of he’s not quite ready to relocate Dawkins from the right tackle competition, where he’s battling incumbent Jordan Mills. However, Dawkins took left-edge reps Friday in practice, while Seantrel Henderson — suspended for the season’s first five games — lined up at right tackle.
  • Tom Coughlin‘s brought some old-school training techniques to Jaguars camp. Albert Breer of observed the Jags doing up-downs following their joint practice with the Patriots, and this didn’t sit well with some Jacksonville players. One told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio the rarely utilized conditioning method will shorten his career “by at least two years.” While that may be an extreme estimate, Florio adds other Jaguars have grumbled about the throwback conditioning style. Florio notes Coughlin is believed to have pushed for a greater conditioning emphasis.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/18/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • Giants UDFA wide receiver Keeon Johnson broke his foot during Thursday’s practice and needed surgery, a source tells Jordan Raanan of (on Twitter). He has been waived with an injury designation, and Raanan expects he’ll land on IR.
  • In related moves, the Giants signed wideouts Ed Eagan and Canaan Severin and waived wide receiver Kevin Snead with an injury designation. Eagan entered the league as a Cowboys UDFA last year but ended up joining the Browns midway through camp. He spent last season bouncing on and off the Bills’ practice squad. Severin spent his would-be rookie year on the Steelers’ IR list; Pittsburgh cut him earlier this week.
  • The Cardinals announced they’ve signed inside linebacker Ryan Langford and released wide receiver Marquis Bundy. Langford and Bundy were teammates at the University of New Mexico. Bundy was promoted to Arizona’s active roster late last season after spending most of it on the practice squad. The Texans cut Langford after training camp last year.
  • A former Saints fifth-round draft choice in 2015, outside linebacker Davis Tull will sign with the Rams, Mike Garafolo of tweets. Tull spent his rookie season on the Saints’ IR list and vacillated between free agency and the Falcons’ practice squad last season. The Tennessee-Chattanooga product was a Division I-FCS All-American in 2014.
  • The Dolphins waived rookie seventh-round pick, wide receiver Isaiah Ford, with an injury designation. Ford had been rehabbing after a knee surgery. The Virginia Tech product is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the Hokies. Ford will revert to Miami’s IR if unclaimed on waivers.
  • The Packers reached an injury settlement with tight end Beau Sandland, Rob Demovsky of tweets. Green Bay signed Sandland to a reserve/futures deal in January but waived him earlier this week.
  • The Redskins also reached one with wideout Kendal Thompson, a former Utah quarterback who spent last season on Washington’s practice squad.

Kyle Shanahan, John Elway Address Broncos’ HC Decision

Kyle Shanahan lost out to Vance Joseph when the Broncos chose a coach to replace Gary Kubiak in January. But Shanahan ended up in San Francisco, and the first-year HC said during the 49ers and Broncos’ joint practices he sensed he wouldn’t get the Denver job.

I just had this gut feeling that I wouldn’t,” Shanahan said, via Nick Wagoner of, of his chances at becoming the Broncos head coach. “I went into the interview, I really enjoyed it, meeting with those guys. I hadn’t seen them for a while. But yeah, I never felt like it. I felt after the interview I made it hard on them, but I always had a feeling that I wasn’t.”

Elway played for Mike Shanahan for most of his career, when Shanahan was an assistant or during the four years he coached Elway as Denver’s HC. While the Broncos GM passed on bringing Mike’s son into the fold, Elway said the then-Falcons OC “wasn’t far behind.”

His knowledge of the game is as good as there is in the league. It’s just a matter of finding the right fit,” Elway said. “I’m very happy with Vance, but Kyle wasn’t too far behind just because he has that knowledge. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to have a lot of success in this league.”

Due to the ties he had growing up in Denver, Kyle Shanahan ended up with a slight sense of relief he didn’t get the Broncos job. The younger Shanahan spent time in the Bay Area growing up as well, with Shanahan separating his Denver stays with a three-year run as OC in San Francisco, but most of Mike Shanahan’s NFL coaching years came in Colorado.

Always deep down, I think, I’d rather [be in] a different situation,” Shanahan said. “But I loved Denver. I loved growing up there. My family is from there. My wife’s family is from there. So it would be a hard thing to say no to when your family’s there and things like that. But by no means was that my situation of choice.”

Elway agreed one of his finalists receiving the job Joseph now has would have created potentially a more pressure-packed environment and expounded on why Shanahan viewed it as a lesser fit than his current position.

You are coming back to where you were raised and friends and family and everything that’s back there, all of a sudden you might have been walking into a pressure-cooker, especially with the situation that we’re in, having won the Super Bowl a couple years ago, so the expectation level was very high,” Elway said of the disparate natures of the job Joseph got and the rebuilding task Shanahan agreed to undertake. “So I can understand what his thinking was on whether he wanted that job or not because [of] having grown up there and such.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Jaguars, Breaux, Buccaneers

Formerly a Dolphins second-rounder given the chance to start for multiple seasons with two teams, Chad Henne is in position to reclaim the Jaguars‘ starting job after Doug Marrone‘s postgame announcement. By opening the competition, Marrone is giving it to Henne, Ryan O’Halloran of notes. Regarding Henne’s competitor in this renewed competition, O’Halloran notes the Jags should be ready to cut Blake Bortles soon rather than risk an injury in a game or practice that could potentially put them on the hook for the $19MM fifth-year option come 2018. Bortles’ 2017 money ($6.571MM) is guaranteed at this point, so the Jags would carry that amount on their cap regardless of the fourth-year quarterback’s employment, but the team could afford it in carrying more than $44MM in cap space currently. This would be an even more aggressive move than the 2015 Redskins used with Robert Griffin III. Washington benched Griffin for the season and cut him after an injury-free campaign of practices.

Here’s more from Jacksonville and some other southern-headquartered franchises.

  • While O’Halloran categorizes the Jags’ decision to pick up Bortles’ option as careless, Michael DiRocco of argues the team should have drafted or signed competition to join Bortles and Henne. O’Halloran suggests the Jags should have drafted a quarterback, while DiRocco points to players like Brian Hoyer, Jay Cutler or Nick Foles as UFA options that could have pushed Bortles.
  • The handling of Bortles and Branden Albert have not looked good for Tom Coughlin, Gene Frenette of writes. Cutting Bortles now and bringing in a third passer would put that quarterback too far behind, and Frenette looks at the decision not to add an outside arm to learn Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense looks bad now that Bortles could be on the way to a demotion or out of Jacksonville.
  • Delvin Breaux underwent successful surgery to repair a broken fibula that was initially misdiagnosed, Joel Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate reports. The Saints cornerback went to Green Bay for the surgery — one that removed the old plate in the his leg and replaced it with a longer one. Sean Payton tentatively put the timetable at six weeks, which Erickson estimates will shelve the third-year corner for four games and place him on course to return after New Orleans’ Week 5 bye. “He’ll be back in New Orleans, and when we get back, we’ll have a chance to sit down,” Payton said. “I don’t want to call him up over the phone; I know it went well.”
  • Demar Dotson will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, and Dirk Koetter said (via Jenna Laine of Caleb Benenoch and Kevin Pamphile would be the next men up. Both are fifth-round picks, Pamphile in 2014, Benenoch in ’16. Koetter added he’s more content with the Bucs’ guard depth than he is at tackle presently.

Falcons To Sign Austin Pasztor

Despite having started 43 games during his five-year career, Austin Pasztor didn’t receive much buzz in free agency. His run as a UFA appears to have ended on Friday, however.

The Falcons agreed to terms with the sixth-year tackle on a one-year deal, his agent, Sunny Shah, reveals (via Ian Rapoport of, on Twitter).

Ranked as a midlevel tackle option among the UFAs initially available at free agency’s outset, Pasztor will join a Falcons team that has two entrenched edge starters in Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder. Atlanta, though, doesn’t have plentiful depth behind its tackles and could use a proven swing option.

Dan Quinn expressed dissatisfaction with his swing candidates this week, per Vaughn McClure of, likely leading to the Pasztor accord.

Pasztor figures to help with that and could factor into the ongoing right guard competition between Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer. He’s suited up at guard for both the Jaguars and Browns during his career.

Pasztor served as a starter for the Jaguars and Browns, most recently starting 16 games for Cleveland at both tackle and guard last season. Originally a UDFA out of Virginia, the 26-year-old Pasztor was given the low-end RFA tender last year. This year marked his first foray into unrestricted free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bills, Taylor, Lions, Wilson

Here’s a look around the NFL:

  • Bills coach Sean McDermott says he is not considering a quarterback change, despite comments that made it seem as though he could move away from Tyrod Taylor (Twitter link via Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News). Taylor struggled against Jacksonville on Thursday night, leading some to speculate that rookie Nathan Peterman could step in as the starter. The Bills inked Taylor to a new two-year deal this past offseason, but they’re really only tied to him through 2017. Only $1MM of his $10MM salary in 2018 is guaranteed and he could theoretically be released before he can collect on his $6MM roster bonus early in the 2018 league year.
  • Lions coach Jim Caldwell says safety Tavon Wilson could still face a potential suspension for the civil lawsuit filed against him by his ex-girlfriend. “The league has the information,” Caldwell said (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “They’ll look at, they’ll make a determination. If there’s an issue they’ll let us know. So that’s all we can do.” The woman claims that Wilson and his friends threw her to the ground and broke her nose, but the safety was not charged with any crimes relating to the May 2016 incident.
  • The Colts did not pursue Jeremy Zuttah as hard as the Ravens did, Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter links) hears. The Colts also had a need for Zuttah in the wake of Ryan Kelly‘s injury, but their offer apparently didn’t measure up to Baltimore’s.

Le’Veon Bell Flaked On Steelers Deal?

We learned shortly after the franchise tender extension deadline that Le’Veon Bell turned down a lucrative contract offer from the Steelers. Apparently, things weren’t that cut and dry. On July 17, Steelers officials thought they had reached agreement with Bell’s agent on a five-year deal. However, at the last minute, Bell nixed the contract, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Meanwhile, agent Adisa Bakari says he and his client never had any agreement with the Steelers. “All stories to contrary are false,” he told’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Le'Veon Bell (vertical)

The deal would have given Bell more than $12MM annually on average and roughly $30MM across the first two years, Bouchette hears. According to previous reports, he would have seen ~$42MM over the first three seasons. Sources tell Bouchette that Bell said no because he is pushing for $15MM annually, a sum that he first demanded in a rap track recorded last year.

I’m not a real greedy guy. I don’t play football just for money or things like that. I just want to be valued — whether it’s $15 million or lower or higher, whatever it is,” Bell told ESPN after releasing his song. “I think we will get to an agreement eventually.”

Bell is slated to play out the year on the one-year, $12.12MM tender. He is currently staying away from the team, but it is expected that he will be back before the start of the regular season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Sign LB Kelvin Sheppard

The Bears announced that they have signed linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. To make room, rookie linebacker Hendrick Ekpe has been waived. Kelvin Sheppard (vertical)

Sheppard recently auditioned for the Dolphins alongside fellow linebacker Rey Maualuga, but both players left Miami without a contract. The 29-year-old was with the Dolphins in 2014 and 2015 before moving to the Giants in 2016.

With Miami, Sheppard made 30 appearances with the club and started 15 times in two seasons. Last year, the 29-year-old appeared in each of the Giants’ games last season and made 11 starts, but he finished with just 47 tackles, failed to force any turnovers and earned a poor grade (39.1) from Pro Football Focus.

Sheppard may not be able to reprise the career-high 102 tackles he had in 2015, but he could still be a quality depth option for Chicago to evaluate. The Bears project to start Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman at the inside linebacker spots, though Trevathan is questionable for Week 1 with a knee issue (same goes for reserve outside linebacker Pernell McPhee). Before the addition of Sheppard, 2016 fourth-round pick Nick Kwiatkoski and former UDFAs Christian Jones and John Timu were the team’s top reserve ILBs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Work Out K Dan Carpenter

The Jaguars are bringing in free agent kicker Dan Carpenter to work out and potentially compete with incumbent Jason Myers, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). Free agent kicker Patrick Murray, most recently of the Saints, is also working out for Jacksonville."<strong

[RELATED: Jaguars Unhappy With Blake Bortles; Open Up QB Competition]

Carpenter served as Buffalo’s kicker from 2013-16, but the Bills let him go in March rather than carry him at a $2.937MM cap number for 2017. In his first year with Buffalo, he nailed 92% of his field goal attempts. However, his numbers have been slipping in recent years. In 2015, he missed six of the recently-elongated extra points and bricked five more in 2016. Last year, Carpenter made only 76% of his field goal tries.

Over the last two years, Myers has made 82.8% of field goal attempts and 85.9% of his extra point tries. The Jaguars aren’t completely satisfied with the way he’s looked this summer, so they’ll evaluate Carpenter and potentially open up a kicking competition.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Sign C Jeremy Zuttah

The Ravens signed center Jeremy Zuttah. Mike Preston of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter) first reported that the two sides were nearing agreement. It’s a two-year deal with nearly $4MM in base salary and a max value of $6MM achievable through playing time, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). To make room on the roster for Zuttah, the Ravens waived/injured wide receiver Kenny Bell."<strong

[RELATED: Why Ryan Mathews Makes Sense For Ravens]

The Ravens traded Zuttah to the 49ers this offseason, but he wound up on the free agent market when San Francisco cut him loose earlier this month. The Ravens were obviously ready to move on from Zuttah at that point, but that was before a rash of injuries and a surprise retirement left them with major holes on the offensive line. Alex Lewis and Nico Siragusa were both knocked out for the whole season with injuries while John Urschel opted to walk away from the game at the age of 26.

In 2016, the 31-year-old played nearly every offensive snap for Baltimore, grading out as the No. 13 center in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Zuttah is expected to regain his spot as the team’s starting center while Ryan Jensen will shift to left guard.

Before he landed back in Baltimore, the Colts also expressed interest in signing Zuttah.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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