Month: June 2024

Reich Lobbies Against Jacoby Brissett Trade

Add Frank Reich to the list of Colts decision-makers that do not want Jacoby Brissett to be traded. One of the NFL’s top backups, Brissett is entering a contract year and may be an interesting trade chip for the contending team.

But in 2018, Jim Irsay said they would not trade their backup quarterback for a first-round pick. The Seahawks’ offer of a second-rounder was reportedly insufficient, though a report this year indicated the Colts may be softening their stanceChris Ballard said in January that Brissett was a future NFL starter. Despite Brissett’s potential 2020 free agency defection, Reich wants to keep Andrew Luck‘s backup.

I tell Chris all the time, ‘Please don’t let him go. I don’t care what anybody offers him. Don’t let him go,'” Reich said, via Kevin Bowen of “I love Jacoby. The problem is now I’ve gotten to know Jacoby and, at some point, I hope that it works out for Jacoby. But not now.”

Reich is in a unique position to understand Brissett’s status, having spent most of his career as a backup quarterback. Last season, the Colts understandably needed more insurance than many teams because of Luck having missed all of 2017. But Luck started all 16 games and looks to have recovered from the shoulder malady that threw his career off axis. A former Patriots third-rounder, Brissett ended his 2017 starter season with the No. 29 QBR figure and threw for just 13 touchdown passes in 16 games. But the former North Carolina State prospect has generated some intrigue around the league.

It’s impossible for me to have a higher opinion of Jacoby than I do,” Reich said. “I said it last year; I think he’s a top-20 quarterback. I still say that. After watching him for a year, this guy’s really good.”

As of now, some future Hall of Fame quarterbacks stand to be 2020 free agents. But the prospect of Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Philip Rivers leaving their current teams seems incredibly remote. Ditto for Dak Prescott. The true market may include the likes of Teddy Bridgewater, Case Keenum and Ryan Tannehill, with the situations of Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota (both set to play on fifth-year options) being ones to monitor. Brissett may factor into this mix, but to have a chance to start again, he will obviously have to prepare to leave Indianapolis.

Poll: Who Is The 2019 NFC Favorite?

Unlike the AFC, where the same team has been the annual favorite for a few years now, the NFC has featured different Patriots opponents over the past three seasons. Since the Packers’ back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 1996-97, only the 2013-14 Seahawks have repeated as conference champions.

When determining who should be considered the 2019 NFC favorite, we should first look at conference’s two best 2018 teams. While the Saints have one of NFL history’s greatest arguments for being the team that should have gone to a Super Bowl, the Rams did. Both teams bring back most of their core players.

The Rams lost more than the Saints this offseason, with their big-spending 2018 helping lead to the departures of Rodger Saffold, Lamarcus Joyner and Ndamukong Suh. Los Angeles brought back Dante Fowler and added Clay Matthews, giving the two-time reigning NFC West champions much bigger names on the edge than the ones that opened the ’18 season as starters, and signed Eric Weddle to replace Joyner. The Rams will trot out two new offensive linemen, likely 2018 mid-round picks Joseph Noteboom (at left guard) and Brian Allen (center). Cooper Kupp is also on track for Week 1. But Todd Gurley‘s status overshadows the rest of the Rams’ lineup; the team has kept information about its two-time All-Pro running back’s knee injury close to the vest.

Lagging just behind the Rams in Super Bowl LIV odds, the Saints lost Mark Ingram but added Latavius Murray. Max Unger retired, but New Orleans added both free agent Nick Easton and second-round pick Erik McCoy. The 2018 trades the Saints made left them without first-, third- and fourth-round picks this year, limiting their ability to enhance their roster cheaply. Drew Brees heads into his age-40 season, and while his arm strength may not be what it once was, he broke his own completion percentage record and was Pro Football Focus’ top-graded QB last season. The cogs chiefly responsible for the Saints’ No. 6 weighted DVOA defensive ranking also return.

The next tier, per Vegas, features the double-doink game’s participants. The Eagles were again active this year, bringing back DeSean Jackson and replacing Michael Bennett with Malik Jackson. Zach Brown also headed to eastern Pennsylvania on a low-cost deal. Philadelphia brought back Brandon Graham and Ronald Darby and extended Jason Kelce. Carson Wentz‘s extension will hit future Eagles caps harder, but his 2019 number ($8.393MM) helps Howie Roseman‘s ability to fortify the roster. After a busy 2018 free agency, the Bears had a quiet offseason. They lost DC Vic Fangio, the NFL’s assistant coach of the year, and may be in line for changes under replacement Chuck Pagano. Scrutinized quarterback Mitch Trubisky (No. 3 in 2018 QBR, No. 18 in Football Outsiders’ DYAR metric) obviously has the biggest say in where the Bears go.

Two out of the past three NFC champions missed the playoffs the year prior, and Vegas places the Packers as the top such candidate for 2019. Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur have expressed a difference of opinion about Green Bay’s offensive structure, but the Packers enjoyed their most active offseason in years. Brian Gutekunst spent wildly on edge rushers, with both Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith now each a top-five highest-paid 3-4 outside linebacker, and brought in Adrian Amos for $9MM annually. Did they do enough to get back in the Super Bowl mix?

While the Cowboys re-routed their season after their Amari Cooper trade, Las Vegas is not bullish on their chances. Dallas sits at 25-to-1 Super Bowl odds, the same as Seattle, Minnesota and San Francisco. Despite their NFC East title, the Cowboys ended last season as the No. 21 DVOA team.

The Seahawks lost one of the top receivers in franchise history, with Doug Baldwin retiring at age 30, and traded their best pass rusher. Ziggy Ansah and first-round pick L.J. Collier represent the team’s top edge options. Minnesota is all-in on this nucleus, with the Anthony Barr deal furthering Rick Spielman‘s massive financial commitments to the core he built. Do the Vikings (ninth in weighted DVOA last season) have enough talent to justify these expenses?

Will a team emerge unexpectedly? The 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo set to suit up again and, after acquiring Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, boast their best edge corps in years. Are the Falcons (40-1) being undervalued? Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your NFC assessments in the comments section.

East Rumors: Cowboys, Patriots, Giants

Cowboys scout Josh Brent was arrested for public intoxication on Sunday, Calvin Watkins of The Athletic reports (on Twitter). Brent became uncooperative and was tased, according to Watkins, who adds (via Twitter) he waits in a Carrollton, Texas, jail and may face further charges. This incident occurred in a Wendy’s parking lot, according to Dean Straka and Claire Cardona of the Dallas Morning News. (Video of Brent’s arrest, courtesy of WFAA’s Bradley Blackburn, can be seen here.) This may prove to be significant for Brent, who has a checkered legal history. The former Cowboys defensive lineman was convicted of intoxication manslaughter in 2012, when he was driving a vehicle that crashed, killing Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown. Brent served 180 days in jail for that crime. He has worked as a Cowboys scout since 2015. Brent, 31, also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in 2009.

Here is the latest from the East divisions:

  • Jerod Mayo looks set for a key role on the Patriots‘ coaching staff this season, and some fellow recent acclaimed Patriot players may join him in the near future. Troy Brown, Deion Branch and Kevin Faulk helped run drills during Patriots offseason workouts, and Mike Reiss of notes spots are likely waiting for them on Bill Belichick‘s staff if they are ready to pursue coaching. Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge also instructs Pats wide receivers, leaving a possible role open. Both Brown and Faulk have been Boston-area media presences since their respective careers concluded. Neither played for another organization, while Branch returned to New England after being traded to Seattle in 2006.
  • Although the Patriots have 90 players on their offseason roster, they still have an open spot. Because fullback Jakob Johnson is part of the NFL’s International Pathway program, Reiss notes the Pats can carry 91 players this summer.
  • After passing on Josh Allen and to draft Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall, the Giants carry questions about their edge rusher situation going into training camp. Both Matt Longacre and Sam Acho could be low-cost fits to join the likes of Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden and Kareem Martin, per’s Matt Lombardo. A four-year Rams edge cog, Loncagre visited the Ravens this offseason, but they went with Shane Ray and Pernell McPhee instead. No known Acho visits have transpired since the Bears cut him in March. The Giants’ 30 sacks last season ranked 31st.
  • Also potentially on the Giants’ late-offseason to-do list: add a No. 3 wide receiver. Michael Crabtree and Dez Bryant represent the biggest names on the market, and Lombardo, citing the Giants’ No. 28-ranked 2018 red zone offense, views Crabtree as a fit for Big Blue. Fifth-round rookie Darius Slayton has impressed New York’s coaching staff thus far and appears to have a legitimate shot at commandeering the WR3 job, but the Auburn product has functioned more as a deep threat in his career.
  • It appears Daniel Snyder will have input in which quarterback opens the season as the Redskins starter.

PFR Originals: 6/23/19 – 6/30/19

The original content and analysis produced by the PFR staff during the past week:

  • PFR’s Extension Candidate series moved along this week, with five new entries.
    • With both A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd entering contract years, we looked at the statuses of each Bengals starting wide receiver. Zach Links expects Green’s next deal to end up around the Odell Beckham Jr. range ($18MM per year), but whether Green gets his money from Cincinnati may come down to what kind of hometown discount Green, who has said he wants to stay in southwest Ohio, is willing to take. As for the Bengals’ WR2, recent deals for Sterling Shepard — which Boyd pointed to — and Tyrell Williams coming in just north of $11MM annually make be Boyd’s extension price point, per Ben Levine.
    • While Sean McVay said the Rams want to extend Marcus Peters, Zach wonders if their recent history of letting corners walk — as they did with Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson — and Peters’ history of clashing with coaches will impede that. If not, it would stand to be a pricey extension.
    • PFR’s second extension candidate entry on Bobby Wagner popped up, and this time, Rory Parks tied the Seahawks linebacker to the mammoth, $17MM-AAV deal the Jets gave C.J. Mosley. Wagner has said he wants Mosley money, considering how much more accomplished the Seahawk is. This will be a fascinating negotiation.
    • Lastly, the NFL’s most famous player is entering a contract year. Tom Brady is set to take up $27MM of the Patriots‘ 2019 cap, and Zach looked at the rare case of a soon-to-be 42-year-old player lined up for a re-up. Another team-friendly discount, perhaps one that comes in between $20-$25MM AAV, could be on tap.
  • On the other side, teams’ new acquisitions have some holdover players in danger of being cut. PFR’s Release Candidate series featured four new chapters:
  • PFR’s This Date in Transactions History series looked at more past summer moves:
    • Despite not playing college football, future WWE and MMA superstar Brock Lesnar tried out for the Vikings in 2004. Zach looked at how that experiment went. The Vikings ended up offering Lesnar an opportunity, but the mammoth would-have-been defensive lineman had big plans off the gridiron.
    • A higher-profile NFL player also had an eventful summer of ’04, and Zach recalled the process that led to the Dolphins losing their starting running back. Ricky Williams did later return, but his career changed after his initial retirement.
    • The Steelers‘ pre-Chris Boswell kicker, Shaun Suisham, hung up his cleats three years ago this week. As Zach details, an ACL recovery setback led to the veteran specialist ending his career.
    • Julius Peppers recently concluded his second stint with the Panthers, but 10 years ago this week, the future Hall of Fame defensive end’s first was coming to a close. Peppers signed his franchise tag in 2009, and Zach looked at what it meant for both parties.
  • The PFR NFL glossary featured some updates as well:
    • Dallas Robinson looked at the physically unable to perform list, an entry which made the distinction between the active/PUP list — which applies to players who are not ready for training camp — and the more significant reserve/PUP list, which requires a six-week absence to start the regular season.
    • Detailing a glossary item that will soon become quite relevant, Zach went over the intricacies of the NFL’s waiver system.
  • On the subject of the waiver system, Dallas went through the Cardinals‘ offseason usage of their No. 1 spot in the 2019 waiver priority. Arizona began taking advantage of this late last season, with its most notable waiver claim coming in grabbing former Washington starter D.J. Swearinger.
  • The Raiders shelled out plenty of money to revamp their roster this offseason. With all their new starters, which figures to include each of their three first-round picks, Zach asked the PFR community how the Silver and Black’s overhaul will work out. The bulk of the readers assigned Oakland a “B” grade.
  • The Jets also doled out big sums this year, but they went through GM turmoil as well. Will the deals for Mosley, Le’Veon Bell and Co. pay off? Zach asked the PFR community if the Joe DouglasAdam Gase partnership will produce an eight-plus-win 2019 season. The answer was no.
  • As we enter training camp month, some high-profile names remain unsigned. Dallas looked at the list that includes Michael Crabtree, Jay Ajayi, Tre Boston, Nick Perry and Co.
  • While Todd Gurley‘s Rams contract tops the market presently, the Cardinals’ subsequent 2018 deal for David Johnson leads all running backs in 2019 cost. Zach looked at what teams are paying the best backs in the league.
  • Concluding a busy week for original content, Zach used Bo Jackson’s 1986 tale — being drafted by the Buccaneers at No. 1 overall but instead opting for a Kansas City Royals path — to show the options rookies have when they don’t sign their NFL contracts.

5 Key NFL Stories: 6/23/19 – 6/30/19

Jonah Williams to miss 2019 season. The Bengals were dealt a tough blow earlier this week, when it was announced that Jonah Williams would likely miss his entire rookie season. The offensive tackle underwent shoulder surgery that will sideline him for the 2019 campaign. “We look forward to Jonah being a major contributor in the future, and know that he won’t let this injury deter him from still being an important part of this team,” new Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said. Cincinnati drafted Williams 11th overall in April, and he was supposed to be an immediate starter. With this news, the Bengals’ offensive line got a lot thinner. Cordy Glenn is now expected to kick over from left guard in his place.

Tyreek Hill meets with league investigators. The embattled Chiefs receiver had his long-awaited meeting with the NFL’s investigator this week. Hill made his case during the meeting, and it apparently went very well for him. The Chiefs apparently think that Hill will be suspended for a maximum of four games, which is a big win for him considering how things were looking earlier this offseason. We also heard that Hill is expected to attend Kansas City’s training camp next month.

Saints DT David Onyemata suspended one game. The Saints’ defensive line will be a little thin in Week 1, as Onyemata was slapped with a one-game ban stemming from his February citation for marijuana possession. Onyemata is heading into the final year of his rookie deal, and has played a pivotal role in New Orleans the past couple of seasons. Last year, he played nearly 60 percent of the defensive snaps. Sheldon Rankins tore his Achilles toward the end of last season and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 campaign, so the Saints will be lacking for defensive tackles when they open the season against the Texans.

Eli Manning not worried about Daniel Jones. The notion that Jones could push Manning for the Giants’ starting job has been picking up steam recently, but the veteran doesn’t sound too concerned. Speaking recently at his passing academy, Manning said he doesn’t think there’s a competition between him and Jones. Manning also said that he sees a lot of his former self in the Duke product, and that he’ll do whatever he can to help his development. “I talk to Daniel and I see so many similarities in the situation and how things are going and just what he’s trying to do, his personality,” Manning said.

Tyreek Hill, Chiefs could reopen extension talks. The news that Hill could be facing only a relatively brief suspension wasn’t the only positive development for him this week. We also heard that assuming Hill comes out of the investigation relatively cleanly, which is now expected, the Chiefs could reopen extension talks with him shortly. Shortly before the allegations of child abuse first broke, we heard that the two sides had been discussing a new contract.


NFC Notes: Newton, Cardinals, Giants

The Panthers got off to a hot start last year, racing out to a 6-2 record. They appeared destined for a playoff berth, and then Cam Newton‘s shoulder fell apart. Within a couple of weeks Newton could barely get the ball downfield, and the Panthers collapsed. They shut Newton down with a couple of weeks left, and ended up losing seven of their last eight games. Newton had another surgery on his shoulder this offseason, and obviously his recovery will determine how Carolina does in 2019. To help avoid further issues on his troublesome shoulder, Newton changed his throwing motion, per Mike Florio of

Florio doesn’t sound too high on the changes, writing that it’s a “funky new throwing motion, which has Cam pulling the ball over the top of his shoulder, almost pressing it up against his head.” Florio also questions if it’ll last, wondering if “Newton will instinctively revert to his old ways” once bullets start flying in the regular season. This upcoming season is a huge one for the Panthers, as Ron Rivera will be on the hot seat if they don’t make it back to the playoffs. Newton is on the wrong side of 30 now, and needs to prove his shoulder isn’t going to turn into an Andrew Luck situation. Hopefully he’s back to full strength when training camp opens next month.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Recently, we heard that the Cardinals were likely to cut former first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche. Former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry tweeted that the Cardinals could save $1.522MM if they cut him before the fifth day of training camp when he’s due a roster bonus, but he also noted that it’s more likely to be $961K in cap savings if Nkemdiche qualifies for the CBA’s injury protection. In a separate tweet, Corry explains that “since there’s remaining time on Robert Nkemdichie’s contract & he was injured last season where he may not be able to play this season, he has a potential injury protection claim for 50% of his 2019 base salary.” Nkemdiche tore his ACL toward the end of last season, and is unlikely to be able to pass a physical by the start of training camp. The 29th overall pick of the 2016 draft is also likely facing a suspension from the league for his arrest earlier this month.
  • Linebacker Tae Davis was an undrafted rookie last year, but he ended up playing a meaningful role for the Giants. This year, that role might get even larger. Davis “spent plenty of time in the spring working with the first team,” and will be competing with B.J. Goodson for a starting spot in training camp, per Paul Schwartz of the NY Post. Scwhartz notes that Goodson started 13 games last year, but he thinks he’s vulnerable. Davis showed well in limited action, and the unheralded Chattanooga product seems to be impressing the coaching staff. Further helping his cause is the fact that Goodson was a draft pick of the previous power structure in New York that has since been swept out.
  • In case you missed it, Redskins owner Dan Snyder will apparently be involved in the decision on whether or not to start Dwayne Haskins.

Bills Ownership Remains Committed To Buffalo

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ruffled some feathers in Buffalo earlier this month when, speaking at Jim Kelly‘s annual charity golf tournament, he said he believes that a new stadium is essential to the stability of the Bills’ franchise. He went on to say that team ownership will need to address the club’s stadium situation at some point in the near future to keep the Bills in Buffalo.

That is not the first time Goodell has made comments of that sort, but it still set off a few alarm bells. Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, though, attempted to downplay the ominous nature of Goodell’s remarks. In an interview with the Associated Press (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk), Kim Pegula said, “Roger knows where we stand. We weren’t at all upset or thought that he was trying to say anything differently.”

The Pegulas are committed to keeping the Bills right where they are, but they also acknowledge that getting a new stadium to make good on that commitment won’t be easy. Kim Pegula said, “It’s a big, big nut to crack. It’s going to take some patience on everyone’s part.”

As Florio observes, it remains to be seen whether the Pegulas can secure enough private funding from the league and enough public money from the city to make a new stadium feasible, and whether the new stadium would even be a viable long-term investment. One factor that could have a major impact on the Bills’ fate could be stadium credits, a system in which revenue that would otherwise be shared by management and players would instead be funneled into the construction and renovation of stadiums. That issue is not being talked about much right now, but it is likely to become a key component of the upcoming CBA negotiations between the league and the union.

Florio also opines that the Pegulas’ commitment to Buffalo may not be the best way to maximize their leverage with the city, and if they want to get as much public funding as possible for a new stadium, they may need to threaten relocation and stop attempting to placate the fan base.

Dorial Green-Beckham Facing More Criminal Charges

In December, Eagles and Titans wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was arrested for a drug-related offense. As Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk writes, that drug arrest violated the probation that DGB had been on due to a previous DWI arrest, and he was sentenced to 90 days in jail as a result of the probation violation.

And now, shortly after his release from jail, Green-Beckham is being formally charged with two misdemeanors for the December incident, which featured his attempting to flee through a window and being tasered. DGB is still just 26, but however long his odds of returning to the NFL were, they just got even longer.

It’s another disappointing installment in DGB’s journey. Once one of the nation’s most prized recruits in high school, he was productive during his two collegiate seasons at Mizzou, but he was dismissed by the school in April 2014 as a result of the legal troubles that had already started to plague him. He transferred to Oklahoma but was required to sit out the entire 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules, and he entered the 2015 NFL draft without ever having played a snap for the Sooners.

The Titans took a chance on him, making him the 40th-overall pick in 2015. His rookie campaign stats (32 catches for 549 yards and four TDs) were promising enough, but Tennessee traded him to the Eagles in August 2016 largely because of his poor work ethic. Philadelphia waived him in June 2017, and he has not been in the league since.

Jared Lorenzen Battling Major Health Issues

Jared Lorenzen appeared in just four games during his NFL career, completing four of eight passes for 28 yards and rushing two times for a total of four yards. But he did serve as Eli Manning‘s backup QB in New York during the 2006-07 seasons, and his large frame and southpaw delivery made him more popular and more recognizable than most second-string signal-callers.

Now, though, the “Hefty Lefty” moniker hints at something more dangerous than novel. During his NFL days, Lorenzen was the heaviest QB in the league, checking in at 285 pounds. But two years ago, Lorenzen tipped the scales at over 500 pounds, and ESPN ran a story on his efforts to get healthy (video link). By April 2018, Lorenzen had reportedly shed 100 pounds, and while it’s unclear what his current weight is, his overall health has apparently deteriorated.

A statement from Lorenzen’s family (Twitter link via Matt Jones of reads as follows:

“On Friday, June 28, Jared began playing a bigger, more important game than he’s ever played before. Jared had not been feeling well for a few weeks and that finally caught up with him. He was brought to the hospital and fairly quickly was admitted to the ICU. Jared is battling an infection, kidney and heart issues. He is fighting with everything he has and his immediate family is by his side. We will attempt to update as often as possible, but please respect that some aspects of this journey are private matters.”

Lorenzen was a standout at the University of Kentucky from 2000-03, compiling over 10,000 passing yards and 78 touchdowns to 41 picks. After he was waived by the Colts in 2008, he hooked on with several indoor football league clubs and even served as the commissioner of the Ultimate Indoor Football League. Last January, he joked that he would be open to joining the XFL as part of its reboot.

We at PFR wish Lorenzen the best in his latest battle.

Ravens TE Hayden Hurst Ready For Training Camp

After a June 25 post on indicated that Ravens TE Hayden Hurst was questionable for training camp due to lingering hamstring issues, NBC Sports Washington published a post of its own relaying that message. Hurst succinctly tweeted that he is not, in fact, questionable for training camp, and NBC Sports Washington updated its previous post to say that Hurst will be ready to go when the team reconvenes next month.

That is obviously welcome news for Ravens fans. Much of the attention on the Ravens’ offseason has focused upon the departure of some key defensive players, the development of second-year QB Lamar Jackson, and whether the club will regret relying so heavily on two rookies (Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin) at wide receiver. But for all of those concerns, the club could boast the best TE corps in the league — which would obviously help Jackson’s progress and take some pressure off the rookie wideouts — if Hurst can remain healthy.

Still, that’s a big “if.” Last August, Hurst underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his foot that cost him the first quarter of the 2018 season, and he conceded during a recent interview on 105.7 The Fan that he never felt quite right the rest of the year. Hurst was Baltimore’s first of two first-round draft choices last year, but he was decidedly overshadowed by 2018 third-rounder Mark Andrews, who enjoyed a terrific rookie campaign and who is one of the main sources of optimism for the Ravens’ offense.

Hurst also tweaked his hamstring earlier this month and was held out of an OTA as a result — which gave rise to the apparently erroneous Rotoworld post — but he was a full participant in minicamp and expects to make a big jump in Year 2. In addition to being a smooth route runner with excellent hands, Hurst is a strong blocker, which will be essential to the Ravens’ run-heavy attack. He says he has added 15 pounds of muscle this offseason, which should bolster his blocking abilities without detracting from his receiving talents.

In 2018, the former Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand caught just 13 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. Baltimore will be counting on a major improvement on those numbers in 2019.