A.J. McCarron

Falcons To Sign QB A.J. McCarron

The Falcons’ roster will soon include a second quarterback. A.J. McCarron will join Matt Ryan in Atlanta, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). It’s a one-year deal, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones tweets.

McCarron spent the past two seasons backing up Deshaun Watson in Houston. The former Bengals backup has seven years’ experience in this role, with a 2015 cameo as a starter also on the ex-Alabama standout’s NFL resume.

Matt Schaub filled this post for the past four seasons but retired earlier this year. The Falcons were connected to quarterbacks at No. 4 overall, but the team went with the consensus choice — tight end Kyle Pitts — and will continue with the Ryan era. That meant finding a new backup to the 13-year starter became necessary.

This move may well take the Falcons out of the second- or third-round QB markets tonight. A 2014 fifth-rounder, McCarron started for two Alabama national championship-winning teams. He made four starts in 2015, after an Andy Dalton injury ended his promising season, and one in 2019. McCarron also spent time with the Raiders and Bills, joining the latter as a potential starter in 2018. But Buffalo cut him ahead of that season, routing him to Oakland and back onto the QB2 circuit.

Contract Details: JPP, Cousins, Weatherly

Deals are coming in quickly, so we’ve compiled some important contract details below:

QB A.J. McCarron To Re-Sign With Texans

The Texans offense will look a whole lot different next year, but at least fans will be familiar with their quarterbacks. Backup A.J. McCarron announced on Instagram that he’s re-signing with Houston (via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter).

McCarron signed a one-year deal with the Texans last offseason, and he earned his first start since 2015 during Houston’s regular season finale. In that contest, the 29-year-old completed 21 of his 36 pass attempts for 225 yards and one interception. He also had a rushing touchdown to go along with four sacks.

The former fifth-rounder out of Alabama has made 15 appearances during his career. He earned three starts with the Bengals back in 2015, throwing six touchdowns vs. only two interceptions. He also started for Cincy in the playoffs that year, tossing a touchdown in the Bengals loss to the Steelers.

In Houston, he’ll continue serving as the backup to Deshaun Watson. Earlier today, the organization stole headlines when they traded star wideout DeAndre Hopkins for running back David Johnson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jeff Driskel Expected To Have Strong Market

Lions backup quarterback Jeff Driskel is expected to have a “plump” free-agent market for his services, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Birkett notes that as the NFL becomes more open to dual-threat quarterbacks, Driskel’s skill set has become more desirable to NFL teams.

The former Florida quarterback appears well-positioned to secure a backup job after vagabonding around the league since the 49ers selected him in the 6th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. After failing to make the 49ers 53-man roster, the Bengals claimed him off waivers and he served as depth in Cincinnati behind Andy Dalton and A.J. McCarron.

Following the 2017 season, McCarron signed with the Bills and Dalton became the primary backup behind Dalton. In 2018, Driskel began contributing in sub-packages where the team utilized his athleticism. An injury to Dalton allowed Driskel to make five starts as well. He finished the season completing 105 of 176 passes for 1003 yards, 6 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, with 130 rushing yards on 30 carries.

Last season, with the Lions, Driskel was the first to step in for Matthew Stafford after his injury. He made three starts before a hamstring injury of his own ended his season. He completed 62 of 105 passes for 685 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions with 151 rushing yards on 22 attempts.

Extra Points: CBA, Clowney, Julio, Butt

As expected based on the past several weeks of talks, there will be no new collective bargaining agreement before Week 1. The parties’ latest round of discussions ended this week without much movement, and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes no more meetings are currently scheduled. The owners continue to push for an 18-game season, while the players want a greater revenue share than their 47% figure without adding any additional regular-season contests. But the sides have made progress on issues like increased league-minimum salaries and health and safety components, Pelissero adds. With NFL-NFLPA meetings more difficult to arrange during the season, due to players’ focuses shifting to game preparation, there is now an increased possibility we will get to 2020 without a new CBA in place. That would mean final-year-of-a-CBA rules going into place. This CBA expires after the 2020 season.

Here is the latest from around the league, as rosters continue to take shape leading up to Saturday’s cutdown:

  • It continues to look less and less likely Jadeveon Clowney will wear a Texans uniform again. A bevy of teams are interested, even if a Clowney-to-Miami proposition has hit snags on multiple fronts. Bill O’Brien, who was reported to be against a Clowney extension before this year’s franchise tag deadline, said he will reconvene with Clowney if he signs his tag tender, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Clowney has now threatened to miss regular-season time.
  • We are now less than nine days away from the Falcons‘ opener, and it could put Julio Jones to a decision. The All-Pro wideout did not skip training camp but he would soon be set to play in games on the league’s 13th-highest-AAV receiver deal. Thomas Dimitroff said (via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com) the team believes this process is “very close” to being completed. Jones’ current deal runs through the 2020 season.
  • Jake Butt has endured another setback. The Broncos tight end who has undergone three reconstructive ACL surgeries will have another knee procedure soon, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets. This will be a minor surgery on Butt’s left knee, that was operated on last year. At this point, it should be considered a safe bet Butt will land on the Broncos’ IR list. The Broncos have the former All-American under contract through 2020 and could give him another medical redshirt year of sorts by placing him on IR before finalizing their roster. Butt missed most of Denver’s preseason work.
  • The Texans may have their backup quarterback back soon. A.J. McCarron has resumed throwing, per Wilson, pointing to the longtime Bengals QB2 being available in Week 1. McCarron has been dealing with a thumb injury for most of August. Houston signed McCarron to a one-year, $3MM deal to be Deshaun Watson‘s backup.

Texans To Place QB Joe Webb On IR

The Texans plan to place quarterback Joe Webb on injured reserve, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Webb was carted off the field with a foot injury on Thursday night against the Rams and further testing confirmed that it was a serious malady.

Webb completed 65% of his passes in the exhibition game and was in line to back up Deshaun Watson. On the plus side, QB A.J. McCarron is ready to roll after injuring his thumb early in camp, so the Texans are likely set under center.

Webb, who has carved out a career with quarterback, wide receiver, and special teams skills, may or may not try to extend his career in 2020. He’ll turn 33 in November and celebrate his 34th birthday during the 2020 campaign.

Texans QB A.J. McCarron Could Miss Preseason

Texans quarterback A.J. McCarron may miss the entirety of the preseason after suffering a thumb injury during practice on Tuesday, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Houston gave McCarron a $2.5MM guarantee in March, so there’s no question that he’ll still be in line to be Deshaun Watson‘s backup, regardless of how his injury plays out. However, given that the only other quarterback on the Texans’ roster is gadget player/special teamer Joe Webb, the club will need to sign another signal-caller in order to make it through training camp and the preseason.

While veterans such as Matt Cassel, Landry Jones, and Brandon Weeden are still available on the free agent market, it seems unlikely any of those players will be options for the Texans. Given that McCarron figures to ready for the regular season, it’s difficult to imagine a veteran signing with Houston while knowing they’ll likely be cut within a month. Weeden, though, does have a history with the Texans (2015-16, 2018), so perhaps he’d be amenable to returning, if only for a short period.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: RG3, Glennon, McCarron

Some assorted contract notes from around the NFL…

A.J. McCarron, Texans Finalizing Deal

The Texans’ meeting with A.J. McCarron looks set to produce a signed contract. McCarron and the Texans are finalizing an agreement that would make him their new backup quarterback, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

McCarron agreed to a one-year deal worth $3MM, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle notes (on Twitter).

Released by the Raiders last week, McCarron will land with his fourth AFC team in barely a year. But it appears the longtime backup will land on his feet, being set to work behind Deshaun Watson. Earlier this offseason, the Raiders indicated a desire to retain McCarron as Derek Carr‘s backup. But the former Bengals, Bills (sort of) and Raiders quarterback will likely head to Houston.

It has been a strange few years for McCarron. In 2015, he started a few games in Andy Dalton‘s stead and showed some promise. Then, last March, he appeared to finally be on his way toward becoming an NFL starter when he hooked on with the Bills.

Ultimately, he did not impress in his competition alongside Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen and was shipped to the Raiders. For the bulk of 2018, he held the clipboard and watched Derek Carr go 4-12 in his 16 starts. Since his work for the most recent Bengal playoff team, McCarron has attempted just 17 passes. Three came last season.

The Texans still have Joe Webb on their roster, but he contributes in other facets beyond the usual backup-QB job description. Houston will not bring back Brandon Weeden, according to McClain (on Twitter). Despite Watson taking a league-high 62 sacks and having suffered a torn ACL midway through his rookie season, he played all 16 games last year and took every snap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans To Meet With A.J. McCarron

The Texans are keeping themselves busy in the second week of free agency. On Monday, the Texans will meet with quarterback A.J. McCarron, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Furthermore, the Texans have some interest in former Raiders tackle Donald Penn, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. They’ll also meet with former Bills tackle Jordan Mills on Monday, a source tells Mike Florio of PFT (Twitter link).

Earlier this offseason, the Raiders said they’d be keeping McCarron in the fold for 2019. However, they had a change of heart along the way (or, they weren’t being entirely truthful about their intentions) and released the QB earlier this month.

It has been a strange few years for McCarron. In 2015, he started a few games in Andy Dalton‘s stead and showed some promise. Then, last March, he appeared to finally be on his way towards becoming a bonafide NFL starter when he hooked on with the Bills. Ultimately, he did not impress in his competition alongside Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen and was shipped to the Raiders. For the bulk of 2018, he held the clipboard and watched Derek Carr go 4-12 in his 16 starts.

McCarron could be a logical fit for the Texans, who may be looking for a new No. 2 behind Deshaun Watson. Last year, Brandon Weeden and Joe Webb served as Watson’s understudies, but both are free agents.

Penn, meanwhile, saw his Raiders run end over the weekend. The Raiders are moving forward with high-priced pickup Trent Brown, but Penn indicated that he plans to continue playing. The Texans, who have been forced to make adjustments on the fly at tackle, could be intently interested in adding someone with Penn’s pedigree.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.