Month: September 2022

Bears Release QB Nick Foles

After deciding to move forward with rookie quarterback Justin Fields as their starter behind center, the Bears have agreed to release Nick Foles, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. 

At 33-years-old, Foles will be searching for his sixth NFL team. He was drafted by the Eagles in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft, starting the last six games of his rookie season when then-starter Michael Vick was injured with a concussion. After an offseason competition with Vick and newly-drafted Matt Barkley, Foles entered his sophomore season as the backup, but soon took over, starting the last 10 games of the season and getting selected to the Pro Bowl after throwing 27 touchdowns versus only 2 interceptions. The following season saw Foles break his collarbone after only eight games.

Foles was traded after that season to the Rams and spent a season in there in St. Louis and the next year with the Chiefs, where he signed after briefly considering retirement. When the Chiefs declined the second-year option on his contract, he returned to Philadelphia to back up second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz was having an MVP-caliber season before tearing his ACL in a Week 14 game against the Rams. Foles stepped in and led the Eagles to a Super Bowl XXVI victory, being named MVP of the game in the process. Wentz returned to the starting job three weeks into the next season with Foles appearing again late in the year and in the playoffs, but ultimately getting defeated by the Saints.

Foles signed after that as a free agent with the Jaguars. An injury-stricken year in Jacksonville led them to trade him to Chicago. Foles replaced a struggling Mitchell Trubisky as starter during his first year before suffering a rough hip injury that took him out of action. Foles was slotted in as the third-string quarterback for most of the 2021 season behind Fields and back up Andy Dalton. Foles did appear for one start in their absences, though, showing his usual heroics with a late game-winning touchdown to Jimmy Graham to win by one point.

Without Foles the Bears will roster Fields, Trevor Siemian, and Ryan Willis. The Bears had been seeking a trade partner for Foles, but, in a brilliant show of class, the team’s new regime wanted to allow Foles the opportunity to find his next home on his own.

Brock Purdy Is 2022’s Mr. Irrelevant

The last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft has been announced and the 49ers have selected Brock Purdy. Quarterback. Iowa State. The 22-year-old has officially earned the moniker of Mr. Irrelevant for this year’s draft after being selected by San Francisco with the 262nd overall pick. 

In 2018, after then-senior Cyclones quarterback Kyle Kempt suffered an early season injury and his replacement, Zeb Noland, proved ineffective over the next few games, Purdy was elevated into the starting role as a true freshman in a Week 5 game at Oklahoma State and led Iowa State to their first Power 5 win of the season. He went on to start every game for the rest of the year, taking the Cyclones from 1-3, when he took over, to 8-5 by the end of the season, amassing a record of 7-2 as a freshman starter.

Purdy went on the start the next three years for the Cyclones, as well. Under Purdy, Iowa State never suffered a losing season and finished the 2020 season ranked 9th in the Final AP Poll, the only time they’ve ended the season ranked in the Final AP Poll since the 2000 season and their highest final ranking ever. Purdy leaves Iowa State as the Cyclones’ all-time and single season record holder for passing yards, passing touchdowns, total offense, and total touchdowns.

With incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo long-rumored to be on the way out, Purdy would be coming into the Bay Area to compete for the back up job behind 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance. His competition for the position would be Nate Sudfeld, who signed with the 49ers in March. Despite being in the league since 2016, Sudfeld only has 37 pass attempts in his career.

It will be interesting to see if Purdy can justify the 49ers signing him to a four-year rookie contract, as opposed to merely signing him as an undrafted free agent. Purdy should have every opportunity to beat out Sudfeld and earn his roster spot this preseason.

Giants Didn’t Consider QB In Round 2

The Giants did well for themselves in this year’s draft, but they did not select a quarterback, instead focusing on their lines in the early going after declining QB Daniel Jones‘ fifth-year option for 2023. It turns out the team didn’t consider drafting a QB in Round 2 after taking defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux and offensive tackle Evan Neal in the first round, according to general manager Joe Schoen (via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, on Twitter).

New York doesn’t seem to have a long-term solution under center in Jones or veteran journeyman Tyrod Taylor. The team drafted Jones sixth overall out of Duke in 2019, but he hasn’t been the answer to this point, and the Giants weren’t willing to pick up his $22.4MM option for 2023 as a result. And Taylor, who just joined the club in free agency on a two-year pact, hasn’t shown he’s a legitimate starter. Barring a breakout from Jones or Taylor during the upcoming season, the Giants will have to continue looking for a franchise QB.

The Giants had five picks in the top 85 of this year’s draft, but they nonetheless opted against choosing a signal-caller. Kenny Pickett (20), Desmond Ridder (74) and Malik Willis (86) all came off the board in the early portion of the draft.

 

Giants GM: Kadarius Toney Not Being Shopped

We might be seeing the recent Kadarius Toney drama settle down, though the Giants’ draft actions do make their receiver depth chart quite crowded.

Still, Joe Schoen said (via The Athletic’s Dan Duggan, on Twitter) Toney is not being shopped. While the new Big Blue GM did not go into much detail on the Toney situation, he made his statement after being asked about the prospect of the 2021 first-round pick and Friday second-round choice (slot receiver Wan’Dale Robinson) coexisting.

The Giants exited Round 2 with a wideout surplus, with Toney and Robinson joining veterans Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. A 5-foot-8 target who caught 104 passes for 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns at Kentucky last season, Robinson adds an inside weapon to New York’s receiver stable — one Schoen compared to Bills 5-7 gadget player Isaiah McKenzie. But the team already houses slot contributors in Shepard and Toney.

The team reached an agreement to bring back Shepard, and Schoen is shutting down the notion the new regime is bailing on Toney so soon. Although the Giants are shopping Slayton, they certainly appear to have some role overlap now that Robinson is on the team. A 2019 fifth-round pick, Slayton has shown flashes as a pro — despite the Giants’ struggles as a whole offensively — and finished with more than 700 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons. As the Giants’ offense cratered last year, Slayton finished with just 339 yards in 13 games.

Toney not being shopped does not mean the Giants are not listening to offers; it appears that has happened since the Toney trade talk started several days ago. Schoen declined to say the team is not listening on Toney.

The intriguing Florida product has struggled to stay on the field and been a bit of a headache off it for the Giants, but they would take on $11MM in dead money by trading him. A team that would acquire Toney would only be on the hook for his rookie-deal base salaries, creating value here considering Toney’s first-round pedigree. For the time being, however, the Giants will carry this interesting receiver quintet into their offseason program.

49ers Not Close To Trading Deebo Samuel

Offers came in for Deebo Samuel, whose trade request occurred 10 days ago. But the 49ers held firm and were not believed to have seriously engaged. That approach differed from the Titans’, with A.J. Brown now an Eagle due to contract considerations.

Brown’s $25MM-per-year deal will affect the 49ers’ partnership with Samuel, but the latter remains a 49er. With this week serving as a loose deadline for a trade, per ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner, Samuel may not be on the move anytime soon.

You’ll consider anything. You’ve got a responsibility to help your organization the most you can, but there’s no player like Deebo,” Shanahan said, via Wagoner. “It’s hard to see how that helps your organization. So, you try to look into all the aspects of it and what people are willing to do and nothing was even remotely close that we thought it would be fair for the Niners.”

The Jets were believed to have offered their No. 10 overall pick for Samuel, but that offer would have also included the 49ers’ No. 61 overall choice going to New York. It does not look like the Lions offered No. 2 overall, with Detroit’s proposal being referred to as “light” on Friday. Aaron Rodgers also discussed the matter during his latest Pat McAfee Show cameo, acknowledging the 49ers trading a player like this to the Packers was unlikely.

Although the sides can still huddle up to resolve this matter, Shanahan said he was “a little disappointed” and “surprised” by this saga’s developments. Nevertheless, Samuel is still under contract through 2022. The 49ers have budgeted an extension, and although their initial offer (believed to be under $19MM per year) irked Samuel’s camp, plenty of time remains for a negotiation to be finalized. The 49ers did not re-up George Kittle until midway through training camp ahead of his contract year.

You can work out anything,” Shanahan said. “We’ll see. Hopefully when this is all said and done, we’ll get the best thing for the Niners and the best thing for Deebo and hopefully that’s the same thing because we’d love to keep going how we’ve been. But we know that’s in front of us right now.”

Rams To Acquire Troy Hill From Browns

The Rams are bringing back corner Troy Hill, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. They’re reacquiring him from the Browns. Los Angeles will give up a fifth-round pick in 2023, the Rams announced.

The 30-year-old Hill started his career as a Bengal in 2015, but he then spent six seasons as a Ram before signing a four-year, $24MM contract with the Browns entering last season. Hill ended up appearing in 12 games and making four starts as a Brown in 2021, but he didn’t record an interception after picking off a career-high three passes the previous year.

Hill had his greatest success as a Ram to this point, and he’ll reunite with the reigning Super Bowl champions. He’ll join Jalen Ramsey and Jordan Fuller near the top of their CB depth chart in 2022.

Commanders Draft Sam Howell At No. 144

This draft’s slow-paced approach with non-Kenny Pickett quarterbacks affected Sam Howell, whose wait lasted well into Day 3. The Commanders stopped the skid.

Washington led off the fifth round by taking the North Carolina passer at No. 144. Howell is this draft’s sixth QB selected, coming in behind Pickett, Desmond Ridder, Malik Willis, Matt Corral and Bailey Zappe.

Although Howell waited much longer to hear his name called than expected, he lands in an interesting place. The Commanders took on Carson Wentz‘s full salary in their trade with the Colts, but the twice-traded quarterback is a year-to-year proposition. Wentz is on Washington’s books at $28.3MM this year, with $22MM of that figure being guaranteed. None of Wentz’s money over the next two years is guaranteed.

While the prospect of Howell becoming a starter is jumping the gun, as there are currently no fifth-round QBs penciled in as their teams’ starters, the Commanders have started five Week 1 QBs in the past six years. Wentz will become No. 6, with the former North Carolina passer set to develop behind he and Taylor Heinicke. The latter’s contract runs through 2022.

The Giants were also linked to Howell, viewing him as a possible late-Day 2 addition. ESPN rated the 6-foot Howell as its No. 50 overall prospect. But teams’ collective views on this quarterback class checked in even lower than the public’s, allowing for other positional attention as QBs slid. Howell was once viewed as a potential first-round pick. He exited his sophomore year with a 68-to-14 touchdown pass-to-interception ratio, playing with the likes of Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown. Howell and Brown are now reunited in Washington, which used a third-round pick on the wideout last year.

Without those players last season, Howell’s stock fell a bit. Although, he still entered the draft after his junior year. He was viewed as a likely Day 2 selection, behind the bulk of the aforementioned passers. Zappe going in front of the ex-Tar Heel was somewhat surprising, given their pre-draft stocks, but Howell may have landed in a better spot for potential playing time down the road.

Patriots Draft QB Bailey Zappe At No. 137

Despite using a first-round pick on a QB last year, the Patriots have used a 2021 fourth rounder on another. The Patriots have drafted Western Kentucky QB Bailey Zappe.

Zappe had a prolific 2021 season, setting single-season FBS records for most passing yards (5,967) and passing TD (62). The 23-year-old wasn’t considered to have the same upside as some of the QBs taken before him, but he was still a popular name in the workout circuit. The Panthers were among the teams that expressed interest in Zappe.

It’s a bit of a curious move for the Patriots, after Mac Jones earned a Pro Bowl nod as a rookie in 2021. Of course, Bill Belichick and co. weren’t afraid to use draft picks on QBs during Tom Brady‘s tenure in New England. During Brady’s time with the Patriots, the team used first- to fourth-round picks on six QBs (Rohan Davey, Kevin O’Connell, Ryan Mallett, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett, and Jarrett Stidham). In other words, the Patriots will use an early(ish)-round draft pick on a high-quality backup. As NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets, one scout believes Zappe will be a “great backup forever.”

Jones will surely be the starter in 2022, but the rest of the depth chart will be interesting to watch. Zappe will compete with veteran Brian Hoyer for the number-two spot. The Patriots are also still rostering Stidham, a fourth-round pick in 2019.

Ravens Select P Jordan Stout At No. 130

We’ve got a fourth-round punter. The Ravens have selected Penn State’s Jordan Stout with the No. 130 pick. San Diego State’s Matt Araiza, who many considered the best punter in the draft, is still on the board.

The last punter selected this high was Bryan Anger, who was selected at No. 70 by the Jaguars in 2012.

Stout made a name for himself during his time in college thanks to both his punting and kicking prowess. He had 100 punts between the 2020 and 2021 seasons, averaging 46 yards on his attempts. He also served as their kicker, converting 16 of his 23 field goal attempts, including a 57-yarder.

“It’s definitely huge,” Stout said of his versatility (via Oliver Hodgkinson of ProFootballNetwork.com). “There’s a lot of good punters in the league. There’s a lot of good kickers in the league. But, there aren’t a lot of people who are great at both. I’ve always prided myself as a combo guy. I’ve figured out how to do all three at a high level.”

This move means the Ravens will surely move on from punter Sam Koch, the team’s longest-tenured player. Cutting the veteran will save the Ravens $2.1MM in cap space.

Browns Draft K Cade York At No. 124

The first kicker is off the board. The Browns used pick No. 124 to select LSU kicker Cade York.

Alongside Tennessee’s Cade Mays, York was considered to be one of the best kickers in the draft. The LSU product firmly established himself as an NFL prospect in 2021 after connecting on 15 of his 18 field goal attempts and all 39 of his extra point tries. This followed a 2020 campaign where York connected on 85.7 percent of his field goals and 100 percent of his extra points.

This is the highest a kicker has gone off the board since 2016, when the Buccaneers selected Roberto Aguayo in the second round.

The Browns relied mostly on Chase McLaughlin as their kicker in 2021. The 26-year-old saw time in 16 games, but he only connected on 71.4 percent of his field goal attempts (15 for 21). He did, however, make 36 of his 37 extra point tries. The Browns re-signed McLaughlin back in March, so a kicking competition is surely coming.