Case Keenum was the best story of the 2017 NFL season, and parlayed his magical run with the Vikings into a two year $36MM contract with the Broncos. While Keenum has had some nice moments this year, he’s mostly been a big disappointment. The Broncos clinched a losing season with their loss last night to the Raiders, and Keenum threw a pair of awful interceptions. With Vance Joseph a near lock to be fired at the end of the season, Denver will have an entirely new coaching staff next year with no ties to Keenum.
Only $7MM of his salary is guaranteed for next season, so the Broncos could realistically cut him this spring. Denver’s decision on whether to keep him “may have more to do with who else is available” than anything else, according to Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic. Jhabvala notes that there may not be a Kirk Cousins-esque surefire starter available in free agency, and that could ensure that Keenum stays another year. Even if he is still on the team in 2019, he’ll likely be competing with a highly drafted rookie.
- The Steelers are on the brink of being eliminated from playoff contention, and need a win over the Bengals and a Browns victory over the Ravens in Week 17 to win the AFC North and sneak into the postseason. They’ll need all hands on deck, and could be getting a big boost on offense for the must-win game. James Conner has missed the last few weeks with a high ankle sprain, but has a “realistic chance” to play this week, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Jaylen Samuels has filled in admirably in the backfield, but getting Conner back would still be huge.
- A trio of Clemson players have failed drug tests ahead of the College Football Playoff, per Jori Epstein of USA Today. The most notable of the group is defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, who has been projected by many as a first round pick in the 2019 NFL draft. While any incident like this could hurt a player’s draft stock, it should be noted that Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is standing firmly behind his players and denying they used any performance enhancing substances, “saying the test results revealed ‘a sliver, a trace, a fraction’ of a drug he’d never heard of before.” We should know more details soon, but teams will surely be asking Lawrence about this at the combine.
- In case you missed it, former Chiefs and Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis is reportedly eyeing a return to the NFL.