Drew Lock

AFC West Notes: Bell, Broncos, Nassib, Bolts

Less than an hour after Le’Veon Bell‘s Jets departure became official, rumors about his new team are surfacing. While Bell’s suitor list is not yet known, many around the league expect the Chiefs to be interested in the former All-Pro back, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Chiefs made a somewhat similar move last year, signing LeSean McCoy — after the Bills cut him — to play behind then-starter Damien Williams. Kansas City used a first-round pick on Clyde Edwards-Helaire but has lower-profile backs Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson — after Damien Williams’ July opt-out — backing up the rookie. Bell, whose disappointing Jets stay secured him nearly $30MM, will prioritize his fit in an offense and a team’s chances of contending before choosing his next destination, per Fowler. Bell returned in Week 5 from a hamstring injury and averaged 4.62 yards per carry on 13 totes in the Jets’ loss to the Cardinals.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • While Cam Newton‘s return to the Patriots’ active roster points to the Broncos facing him and not Jarrett Stidham this week, Drew Lock also appears on the verge of a return. The Denver starter participated fully in practice Wednesday. A Week 6 return would be in the timeframe initially set after Lock’s Week 2 shoulder injury. The Broncos used two different starters, running their post-Peyton Manning total to nine, in Lock’s absence. Were Lock to be held out another week, Brett Rypien would be in line to log a second start.
  • Mark Barron‘s Broncos debut remains on hold. On IR because of a hamstring injury, Barron suffered a pectoral malady that will delay his return to action, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. The Broncos signed Barron late in the summer, but the former first-round pick does not have a clear-cut return date.
  • The Raiders are also going to be without a rotational defender for a bit. Carl Nassib suffered a broken toe during the team’s win over the Chiefs, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). It is, in fact, a big toe injury. The former Browns and Buccaneers pass rusher will likely be out a while, though a concrete timetable does not exist yet. An offseason addition, Nassib has played just more than a fourth of Las Vegas’ defensive snaps this season.
  • The Dolphins recently promoted running back Salvon Ahmed to their active roster. They did so after the Chargers expressed interest in poaching Ahmed off Miami’s practice squad, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Chargers are down Austin Ekeler presently and have just two backs — Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley — on their active roster. A rookie UDFA out of Washington, Ahmed has yet to dress for an NFL game.

Broncos Place Mark Barron, DeMarcus Walker On IR

The Broncos’ IR list is filling up. Mark Barron and DeMarcus Walker will join the likes of Von Miller, Courtland Sutton and A.J. Bouye on Denver’s injured reserve, Vic Fangio said Wednesday.

Barron has yet to make his Denver debut; a hamstring injury has kept the veteran linebacker off the field. Walker, a fourth-year defensive end, suffered a calf injury in the Broncos’ Week 2 loss to the Steelers. Both players are eligible to return in Week 6.

While the Broncos have been hit harder than just about any team with injuries this season — with four of the six former Pro Bowlers on their roster currently unavailable — they are not placing Drew Lock on IR. The prospect of Lock returning before Week 6 induced the team to keep its starting quarterback on its 53-man roster, Fangio said. Lock, however, could be out for close to six weeks. But the Broncos will go with three active-roster QBs for the time being. They agreed to terms with Blake Bortles on Tuesday; he will join Jeff Driskel on the roster.

Denver signed Barron after releasing Todd Davis. The former was set to work as passing-down linebacker alongside Alexander Johnson. Those plans are on hold. The Steelers released Barron earlier this year, doing so a year after the Rams made the former first-round pick a cap casualty.

Walker beat out Christian Covington for a roster spot this year, after showing some promise down the stretch last season. The Broncos drafted Walker in the 2017 second round. Although Walker has not quite lived up to his draft slot — particularly in his first two seasons — Fangio and Co. kept the Vance Joseph-era investment around as a depth player. The team now has Walker and 2019 third-round D-lineman Dre’Mont Jones on IR.

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Injury Updates: Colts, McCaffrey, Broncos, 49ers

It’s been a tough day for the NFL, with a slew of high profile players going down with serious injuries. We’ve brought you all the season-ending ones already, and now we’ve got some updates on some hopefully less long-term but still significant injuries. Colts receiver Parris Campbell had to be carted off with a knee injury, but fortunately Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that he did not tear his ACL.

Campbell’s 2019 rookie season was plagued by injuries as he dealt with a sports hernia, a broken hand, and a broken foot, so this was especially tough to see. He was supposed to play a big role in this Colts offense, and showed a nice connection with new quarterback Philip Rivers in Week 1. The Ohio State product and former second-round pick will have an MRI on Monday, and it seems like an MCL injury could be likely.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Panthers superstar Christian McCaffrey sprained his ankle and will have an MRI on Monday to determine the severity, Rapoport tweets. Fortunately, Rapsheet reports that the “initial hope” is it’s not too serious. Needless to say, it would be a massive loss for Carolina’s offense if he’s forced to miss any time.
  • We heard earlier today that Drew Lock would miss multiple games with an AC joint injury in his throwing shoulder. While he agrees with the prognosis of multiple weeks missed, multiple sources told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News that the injury is not in fact to the AC joint (Twitter link). The bad news is that Klis also reports there is “concern” within the organization about Courtland Sutton‘s knee, but that nothing more will be known until tomorrow morning. The Broncos have been besieged by injuries, and can’t seem to catch a break in that regard.
  • The Falcons blew a huge lead late for an absolutely gutting loss to the Cowboys, and the bad news doesn’t end there. The team fears starting right tackle Kaleb McGary has sprained his MCL, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The MRI Monday will confirm how long he’ll be out, but this sounds like a multi-week absence. McGary has started every game since the team drafted him in the first-round last year, and this is the last thing this 0-2 Atlanta team needed.
  • Nick Bosa is done for the year with a torn ACL, and two other 49ers players are dealing with knee injuries. Running back Raheem Mostert is believed to have a mild MCL sprain and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas is believed to have a “serious” knee injury, according to tweets from Schefter. It sounds like both are going to miss time, although Mostert’s shouldn’t be too long-term and Schefter notes that Thomas’ didn’t have the initial grim clarity of Bosa’s, which could be a good sign. San Francisco has been another team bit hard by the injury bug.

Broncos QB Drew Lock Out 2-6 Weeks

Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t the only starting quarterback who won’t be out there next week. Broncos passer Drew Lock has a sprained AC joint in his shoulder and is expected to be out 2-6 weeks, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Schefter adds that Lock will have an MRI on Monday to determine more specifics, but it sounds like Denver is going to be without him for at least a couple of games. Jeff Driskel came on in relief, and will now be the starter moving forward. It’s a brutal blow to the Broncos after they’ve suffered two narrow down to the wire losses through the first two weeks.

They’ve had some bad injury luck, with star pass-rusher Von Miller likely to miss the season due to ankle surgery and top receiver Courtland Sutton banged up. It’s also tough for Lock’s development, since the Missouri product only started five games as a rookie and could use all the reps he can get.

There was a lot of optimism internally with this Broncos team entering the year, but that has mostly been dashed now. Driskel performed admirably against the Steelers and nearly led a comeback in the second half, but he’s shown during previous stints with the Bengals and Lions he isn’t going to be an above average starter.

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Broncos Rumors: Lock, Lindsay, Miller

As probably the second-best decade in Broncos history concludes, here is the latest out of Denver going into the 2020s. We’ll begin with the team’s quarterback situation.

  • Drew Lock led the Broncos to four wins in his five-start rookie season, and John Elway confirmed the perpetually quarterback-seeking franchise will not be in the market for another starter. “Obviously he finished, did a heck of a job, won four out of five games and played well, but he still has a long way to go; he’s got a lot of work to do,” Elway said, via ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold. “We’re excited about where Drew is so, we don’t like to show our hand. But it’s unrealistic to say we’re going a different direction.” Lock’s rookie contract will give the Broncos flexibility they have not had in a few years.
  • However, the Broncos’ September restructure of Joe Flacco‘s contract will mean a $13.6MM dead-money tag if/when he is released. Flacco is not expected to be on next year’s Broncos team but does not want to retire yet. Although, Flacco would be open to a Broncos backup role going forward, video link via Mike Klis of 9News. Should Flacco return to full strength, he could be an attractive backup option somewhere. The 34-year-old quarterback will go through an MRI in the next month to determine if he needs neck surgery, per Legwold.
  • Phillip Lindsay became the first UDFA to start his career 2-for-2 in 1,000-yard rushing seasons, Elway said the Broncos will look into redoing his contract, per The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala (on Twitter). Lindsay’s rookie deal runs through 2020, but UDFAs can be extended after two years as opposed to the three-year waiting period for draft picks. Lindsay, 25, is set to make just $660K next season, so expect extension discussions to commence. The Denver native would prefer a new contract this offseason, per Jhabvala (on Twitter).
  • Von Miller backtracked on mid-December comments that could have been construed as ominous, clarifying he did not want to leave Denver. And he will be part of the 2020 Broncos. The Broncos will pick up Miller’s option, Elway said (via Klis, on Twitter). The 30-year-old standout’s option — due by March 17 — calls for $6MM of his $18MM 2020 payment to become fully guaranteed, which would essentially ensure he will be part of next year’s Denver edition. Miller’s six-year, $114.5MM deal runs through the 2021 season.

Broncos To Start Drew Lock

After officially activating him off injured reserve on Saturday, the Broncos will start rookie QB Drew Lock against the Chargers on Sunday, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. It will be the first regular season action of Lock’s professional career.

Although the Broncos drafted Lock in the second round of the 2019 draft with the notion that he could be the team’s long-term answer under center, he may have to perform at a very high level throughout the rest of the season to stave off any competition for the starting QB job in 2020. The Missouri product had an uneven preseason and was knocked out of the Broncos’ fourth exhibition game with a thumb injury, which landed him on IR. He did not return to practice until the second week of November.

As such, it would not be surprising for the Broncos to go shopping for a signal-caller yet again this offseason if Lock doesn’t excel, though Lock would almost certainly be involved in a QB competition if that happens. After all, he was considered a borderline first-round talent, and he had a prolific four-year collegiate career at Mizzou.

Lock will have a stiff test against the Chargers, whose defense ranks in the top-10 in yards allowed and points allowed, and who will be returning safety Derwin James.

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Broncos Activate Drew Lock Off IR

Weeks after being eligible to come off the Broncos’ IR list, Drew Lock will return to the team’s active roster. Denver will activate its second-round pick in advance of its Week 13 game, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets.

The team officially made the move and cleared the roster spot by waiving rookie UDFA quarterback Brett Rypien, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Rypien has served as Denver’s backup during the past three games. The Broncos intend to re-sign Rypien to their practice squad, should he clear waivers, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets.

The Broncos have not announced if they will start Lock against the Chargers, but they have given him approximately 75% of the reps in practice this week, Klis notes. Lock returned to practice before Week 11, and it would certainly benefit the Broncos to start their rookie soon given their current status.

Denver lost Joe Flacco to injury midway through the season and has given longtime backup/practice squad talent Brandon Allen the past three starts. While Allen played well considering his history against the Browns and Vikings, the Broncos posted their lowest total yardage figure since 1992 against the Bills in Week 12. Lock debuting would help the Broncos determine how dire their quarterback need still is going into the offseason.

Lock enjoyed an uneven preseason and was knocked out of the Broncos’ fourth exhibition game with a thumb injury. That malady delayed his season and left Flacco unchallenged for Denver’s starting job. With Flacco perhaps having played his final down in Denver, the Broncos may soon enter a fifth straight offseason without quarterback stability.

Lock may need to play extremely well to deter the Broncos from considering quarterbacks in the 2020 first round. The Kansas City, Mo., native did start four seasons at Missouri, however, and was considered a borderline first-rounder leading up to this year’s draft. The Broncos were linked to Lock early in this year’s pre-draft process. He may have a five-game audition starting Sunday.

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Extra Points: Colts, Dolphins, JPP, Broncos

The Colts are expecting Devin Funchess to return soon, but head coach Frank Reich didn’t want to say anything definitive when talking with reporters on Monday.

“Yeah, we’re gonna monitor him as we go,” Reich said (via Andrew Walker of the team’s website). “You know, we’ve already talked about his injury a bunch; I mean we’ve gotta make sure that thing’s 100 percent healed, so we’ll monitor it this week and see how it goes.”

Reich did note that wideout T.Y. Hilton didn’t suffer a setback with his calf injury during Thursday’s night loss to the Texans, and he also revealed that receiver Parris Campbell could return this week from a fractured hand. Running back Marlon Mack won’t play this weekend against the Titans, according to the head coach.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • The Dolphins will likely be on the hunt for wide receiver help, according to ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe (via Twitter). Jakeem Grant (ankle) and Albert Wilson (rib) both suffered injuries during Sunday’s loss to the Browns, leaving the team with only two healthy receivers in DeVante Parker and Allen Hurns. Head coach Brian Flores noted that he’s uncertain if Grant or Wilson would end up missing the rest of the season due to their injuries (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald).
  • Buccaneers linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul played 76-percent of his team’s defensive snaps this weekend, earning him another $600K. As Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets, the veteran has already earned $3MM in bonuses in five games, and he could earn another $3MM through his team’s final five games. Pierre-Paul has a $3MM base salary this season.
  • Take this for what it’s worth, but Vic Fangio told reporters that Broncos quarterback Drew Lock could “possibly” be on the roster this Sunday and could “possibly” start vs. the Chargers (via Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post on Twitter). The second-round rookie has been on the IR since September, but he was designated to return earlier this month.
  • Former NFL running back Karlos Williams has signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, the team announced on Twitter. Williams ran for 517 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie, but he was later slapped with three separate suspensions. The 26-year-old was reinstated from his indefinite suspension last February, and he’s finally found his next gig.

Extra Points: Sanu, Brown, Bears, Lock

The Patriots‘ revolving receiver cast may be set for more adjustments. Mohamed Sanu may well be battling a high ankle sprain, according to Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. While that is not confirmed, the recent trade acquisition did not practice Wednesday and is listed on New England’s injury report. A high ankle sprain would stand to sideline Sanu for multiple games. The Pats have cycled through numerous receiver combinations this season, with Julian Edelman being the only constant. Phillip Dorsett is in the Pats’ concussion protocol, meaning Edelman’s supporting cast against the Cowboys may be fronted by rookies N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers.

Here is the latest from around the NFL, moving first to a player not currently in the league.

  • Antonio Brown launched a countersuit against Britney Taylor, the first of two women to make sexual misconduct claims against the free agent wide receiver. Taylor filed a civil suit against Brown earlier this year, alleging sexual assault, and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports Brown’s case will center around defamation and interference with NFL contract and endorsement opportunities. Brown remains hopeful the NFL will clear him soon; he met with the league last week. But a recent report gave Brown a long-odds chance of playing again this season.
  • Mitchell Trubisky was a full participant at Bears practice Wednesday, despite being removed from Sunday night’s game with a hip injury. Matt Nagy said he does not intend to bench his starter and plans to play him this week against the Giants. “We want him to be out there this week as the starter,” Nagy said, via J.J. Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago. “I’m hoping that’s the case. … These types of injuries, you get to a point where they are literally day to day and it becomes about where you’re at with the pain and how we manage that.”
  • Brandon Allen has helped spark the Broncos‘ offense, but the team would stand to benefit from Drew Lock debuting soon. Vic Fangio added an interesting stance Wednesday, indicating he does not think it’s “vitally important” the rookie passer plays this season, via Mike Klis of 9News. However, the Broncos do plan to activate Lock from IR either next week or in Week 14, per Klis. Denver selected Lock in Round 2 but saw its Joe Flacco investment fail, leading to more uncertainty at a long-troublesome position for the franchise. The Broncos could again be linked to top quarterbacks in the 2020 draft, just as they were in 2018 and ’19.
  • One of the Falcons‘ IR-return slots will go toward a punter. Longtime punter Matt Bosher returned to practice, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). Atlanta’s ninth-year punter cannot return to action until Week 13.
  • After placing fullback Nick Bawden on IR, the Lions worked out several fullbacks. Tommy Bohanon, Derrick Coleman, Tre Madden, Aaron Ripkowski auditioned for the Lions, per Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter).

Drew Lock To Practice This Week

Although Drew Lock has been eligible to return to practice for weeks, that has yet to occur. The process of bringing Lock into the starting lineup, however, will begin on Tuesday.

Lock is expected to practice Tuesday, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. This will begin the rookie’s return from IR. The Broncos are already planning to bring wide receiver Tim Patrick off IR. Lock coming back would fill both of Denver’s slots. However, Vic Fangio said it’s not certain Lock will play this season, per Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (on Twitter). Lock has been sidelined since August with a thumb injury.

Of course, with the Broncos 3-6 and having backup Brandon Allen as their starter now points to a Lock audition coming soon. The tentative plan was for the second-round pick to start the final two Broncos games. While Fangio said Allen’s play will determine Lock’s activation, it would stand to reason the Broncos would give Lock as much time as possible in order for the franchise to gauge its recent QB investment before next year’s draft.

Lock can return to game action at any point, as it’s been more than eight weeks since his initial IR placement. But if he returns to practice Tuesday, the Broncos will have three weeks to activate him. Additionally, Fangio said Bryce Callahan would try to practice Tuesday. The team has also yet to decide if Patrick will be activated this season, Twitter links via Klis and Jhabvala.

Denver going with a Lock-Patrick IR-return combo would mean Jake Butt and Theo Riddick will miss the season. Callahan remains on the active roster and can make his Broncos debut at any point.

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