Drew Lock

AFC Notes: Collins, Broncos, Raiders, Finley

Jamie Collins held the distinction of being the highest-paid off-ball linebacker for nearly two years. His new deal with the Patriots is less glamorous. Escalators exist in Collins’ one-year, $2MM contract, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com broke them down Sunday. If the eighth-year linebacker plays 50% of the Pats’ 2019 snaps, he will obtain an additional $250K. A 60% snap clearance will mean another $250K. This goes up in 10% increments until the 80% mark, when the incentives increase but also venture into not-likely-to-be-earned territory. Should Collins wind up in the Pro Bowl, he would earn an additional $500K. Collins was making $12.5MM per year on his Browns deal.

Here’s the latest from the AFC, moving westward:

  • It should be expected that Drew Lock is the Broncos‘ backup quarterback once the regular season begins, even after a shaky preseason start. But the Broncos also moved rookie UDFA Brett Rypien into position to challenge Kevin Hogan‘s roster spot. The nephew of former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien received the third-team reps ahead of Hogan in practice Sunday, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Lock took the second-team snaps. Hogan served as Case Keenum‘s backup last year, after Chad Kelly‘s departure. Rypien could conceivably be a practice squad stash, but Klis views the Broncos as giving him every opportunity to unseat Hogan.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos made a move to address their depleted inside linebacker corps. Third-year safety Jamal Carter is now an inside linebacker, with Vic Fangio indicating (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter) Carter sought this switch. “I’ve been wanting to play this since high school and college,’’ Carter said, via Klis. “I like being in the trenches. I’m a physical specimen. I don’t like being too deep away from arms and contact. It’s going to fit me.” Todd Davis, Josey Jewell and Joe Jones are out with injuries presently. Carter, a 2017 UDFA out of Miami, missed all of last season due to injury and is on Denver’s roster bubble.
  • Set to use Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback for a ninth season, the Bengals did draft another passer this year. Their Ryan Finley fourth-round investment has gone well as the offseason has progressed, and The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. (subscription required) views a Bengals final roster that only includes Dalton and Finley at quarterback. This would mean Cincinnati cutting Jeff Driskel, who was needed for five starts after Dalton’s IR trip last year. A 2016 sixth-round pick, Driskel posted a 31.6 QBR in his 2018 work.
  • The Raiders placed cornerback D.J. Killings on IR on Sunday, doing so because he tore a pectoral muscle in the team’s preseason opener Saturday. Killings, a third-year UDFA, will undergo surgery, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets.

Broncos’ Drew Lock On Contract Talks

On Wednesday, the Broncos finally hammered out a contract with draft pick Drew Lock. Lock, the No. 42 overall pick in the draft, reportedly wanted a “quarterback premium” to give him a higher salary than his slot. On Thursday, Lock addressed that and more with reporters (quotes via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic, on Twitter): 

Any anxiety about possibly missing time during his contract negotiations?

I was anxious to get out on the field, but I knew we were trying to get things worked out. The Broncos and my agency were working together, but I told my agency beforehand, if it got to the point where I was missing practice, then there was no chance we were going to go on with it. I was going to sign a deal and I was going to get here, because the most important thing to me was getting out here. If I missed the conditioning test, which I made up after practice…that was OK because I was able to make it up. But, missing anything else is just not who I am.”

Did you know what a [quarterback premium] was?

I’m sure [agents Tom Condon and Jimmy Sexton] all have a really good idea of what a quarterback premium is. I’m not 100% sure what a quarterback premium is. I know that’s what they were talking about. For me, to get to the point where it was time for me to come practice, I guess in my head the quarterback premium I didn’t know much about was going to get thrown out the window, because I needed to be out here.”

(Note: Lock received workout bonuses in the third and fourth years of his deal, which the Broncos haven’t done in six years, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com noted on Twitter. Dalton Risner, taken with the No. 41 overall pick, also secured these bonuses.)

Did you push to get the deal done so that you wouldn’t be behind?

100%. I didn’t necessarily want to get behind in anything…There was no ounce of me that didn’t want to be out here on this football field, taking every rep that I was supposed to take, and being with the guys every second that I could be today and the rest of training camp.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos, Drew Lock Agree To Deal

The Broncos will have their entire rookie class ready to go when they convene for practice Thursday. After some drama, the team and Drew Lock reached an agreement on the second-round pick’s four-year deal, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk tweets.

Set to conduct their first training camp practice Thursday morning, the Broncos now have their six-man draft class under contract. They signed No. 41 overall pick Dalton Risner on Tuesday and, after a report emerged about the No. 42 selection seeking a “quarterback premium,” will have Lock ready to go as well.

The Broncos did not give into any demands of an overslot deal, with Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic confirming the team gave Lock the same workout bonuses it did Risner (all Twitter links) and the $3.1MM signing bonus that comes with the No. 42 slot.

Lock poses as John Elway‘s third try to find Peyton Manning‘s long-term successor through the draft. Denver’s GM has gone through Brock Osweiler (2012 second round) and Paxton Lynch (2016 first round) and was long linked to being intrigued by the four-year Missouri starter. The fourth quarterback off the board this year, Lock will attempt to develop behind Joe Flacco.

Obviously we’ve been looking for one since Peyton retired,” Elway said Wednesday of the Broncos’ quarterback situation (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter). “That’s always a difficult position to fill, but I finally feel pretty good about that position with where we are.”

A Kansas City, Mo, native, Lock concluded his Mizzou career with 99 touchdown passes — including 44 as a junior — and 12,193 yards. Flacco’s early work dissuaded the Broncos from using a first-round pick on a quarterback, but when Lock was still on the board in Round 2, the team decided to pull the trigger. This would seemingly take the Broncos out of the running for a 2020 QB investment, and given the rate at which highly drafted passers have begun their tenures as NFL starters, Lock starting at some point this season appears likely.

Only nine 2019 rookies remain unsigned. Here is the Broncos’ full rookie class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Notes: Sanders, Butt, Lock, CBs

After Chris Harris and Emmanuel Sanders suffered season-ending injuries in a four-day span last December, the Broncos lost their final four games and reassembled their coaching staff. The team did not make any major additions at wide receiver this offseason, waiting until the sixth round to address the spot. Sanders has shown steady progress during offseason Achilles rehab, but the 32-year-old wideout conceded Tuesday (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter) he will not be full-go to start Denver’s training camp. With the veteran not yet certain to be ready to play by Week 1, a stay on the active/PUP list to start camp seems likely. The Broncos, whom Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com ranked 31st on his list of skill-position groups, are counting on Sanders to reprise his role as a key starter.

With the Broncos two days away from training camp, here is the latest out of Denver:

  • While Sanders may not avoid the active/PUP list, it appears Jake Butt will. The third-year tight end is attempting to recover from the third torn ACL of his playing career, but the Michigan product said (via the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran, on Twitter) he will not land on the PUP list to start camp. However, the Broncos will still ease him back to practice work. The Broncos brought back Jeff Heuerman and drafted Noah Fant, but Butt could still be a nice bonus for a team with an uncertain pass-catcher situation.
  • Denver used third-round picks in 2017 and ’18 on cornerbacks, but neither Brendan Langley nor Isaac Yiadom have a locked-in role going into camp. Langley has been moved to wide receiver, and Yiadom might not even be the favorite for the team’s No. 4 cornerback gig. The Broncos’ top three of Harris, Bryce Callahan and Kareem Jackson (in nickel sets) is set, and O’Halloran notes Alliance of American Football refugee De’Vante Bausby may be the player to beat for the Broncos’ CB4 role. Bausby played for Vic Fangio briefly in 2016 and suited up for six Eagles games last season.
  • Dalton Risner agreed to terms on his second-round rookie deal. Drew Lock has not. But the Broncos are not planning to cave to Lock’s reported aim at securing an overslot deal. They will not pay Lock more than what Risner received, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Risner was taken 41st overall, and while Lock was projected to be a first-round pick for most of the draft process, the four-year Missouri starter went 42nd.

Broncos Hit Snag In Drew Lock Negotiations

The Broncos’ negotiations with second-round picks Drew Lock and Dalton Risner have hit a snag, as Mike Klis of KUSA writes. Lock, the No. 42 pick, is seeking a “quarterback premium,” meaning that he wants more money than his draft slot dictates. Meanwhile, Risner, the No. 41 overall choice, doesn’t want to take less money than the player behind him. 

Heading into the draft, many believed that Lock would be selected in the first round. His unexpected slide landed him in the eager arms of John Elway, who traded back into Round Two to grab him. From a career perspective, Lock is in a solid situation as the heir apparent to Joe Flacco‘s starting job. However, his camp is looking to recoup some of the money that was lost by his drop.

What this effectively means is that Lock and Risner (the team’s expected starting left guard) might not be in attendance for the first meeting for rookies on Wednesday or practice on Thursday. It’s unlikely that either situation will result in a prolonged stalemate, but stranger things have happened in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Broncos’ QB Situation

The Broncos traded for veteran QB Joe Flacco in February with the clear intention of having him serve as their starting signal-caller for at least the 2019 season. But given the state of Denver’s quarterback situation since Peyton Manning retired, GM John Elway hedged his bets in a big way, drafting talented but raw prospect Drew Lock in the second round of this year’s draft and handing a $136K guarantee to UDFA Brett Rypien.

Mike Klis of 9News.com examined the status of the Broncos’ QB depth chart as we inch closer to training camp, and to no one’s surprise, Flacco is the unquestioned starter. His performance during early Broncos practices this year made Elway comfortable enough to eschew a QB prospect in the first round of the draft, and despite some speculation that Lock could push Flacco for the starting job at some point in 2019, Klis says the long-time Raven will be Denver’s one and only quarterback this season, provided he stays healthy. The fact that Flacco has looked his best when playing in an offense similar to the one that new OC Rich Scangarello runs will certainly help his cause, and he built on his strong work early in the offseason by continuing to play well throughout OTAs and minicamp.

Klis notes that Lock has shown flashes of his potential, but his decision-making and ability to read defenses still need a great deal of refinement, and the Missouri product will have a legitimate battle with Kevin Hogan for the club’s backup job. Hogan has started just one game in his professional career, but he apparently showed enough in practice in 2018 for Denver to re-sign him this offseason. However, if Lock wins the No. 2 spot, then Hogan will likely be cut, with the third-string job going to Rypien. If Lock struggles and cedes the backup role to Hogan, then Rypien may be forced onto the practice squad, where he could be poached by another team.

The AFC West looks as if it will be a highly-competitive division in 2019, and Denver will not have an easy road back to the playoffs after a three-year absence. But if Lock shows significant improvement and can become a real candidate to start in 2020, that would be a decent consolation prize.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Which Team’s New QB Will Have Best Season?

While this offseason did not bring quite the same level of quarterback movement 2018’s did, a handful of teams will deploy new starters. Draft choices, trade acquisitions and free agent signings will be given the keys to offenses that struggled last season.

The Broncos, Cardinals, Dolphins, Jaguars and Redskins made moves to fortify their quarterback jobs. Which team’s investment will work out best?

Denver will use a different starting quarterback for the third straight year. Joe Flacco is set to be the Broncos’ fourth starter since Peyton Manning‘s retirement. While his QBR figure (58.7) was better than any the former Ravens starter had posted since a quality 2014 season, Flacco still ranked 20th in that metric last season. Having never made a Pro Bowl and fresh off back-to-back years featuring injury trouble, with a back problem limiting him during the 2017 offseason and a hip injury beginning the Lamar Jackson era, the 34-year-old starter will try to revive his career in Denver. Flacco, though, is the most accomplished quarterback the Broncos have employed since Manning.

The other surefire veteran starter acquired this year, Foles will have his first chance to be a team’s unquestioned first-stringer since 2015. The 30-year-old flourished in his second Philadelphia stint, submitting an all-time postseason run in 2017 and helping the Eagles back to the playoffs last season. A 2013 Pro Bowler, Foles will take over a Jaguars team that does not possess the kind of aerial weaponry recent Eagles rosters did. Jacksonville is in line to have Marqise Lee back from a torn ACL, but the team’s wideouts and tight ends will place additional emphasis on Foles living up to his contract. With the Rams in 2015, Foles threw seven touchdown passes and 10 interceptions before being benched.

Kyler Murray represents the other locked-in starter added this offseason. The electric one-year Oklahoma starter accomplished about as much as a college passer can in a single season, turning in Division I-FBS’ second-ever 4,000-1,000 season en route to Heisman Trophy honors. Working with Kliff Kingsbury, Larry Fitzgerald and a host of young wide receivers, Murray is the centerpiece of one of the most daring experiments an NFL team has attempted.

The Cardinals turned the keys over to a sub-.500 college coach and a 5-foot-10 signal-caller — the first sub-6-foot passer to be chosen in Round 1. Arizona trotted out the league’s worst scoring and total offense last season, however, and sported a skeleton-crew offensive line by year’s end. The Cards added new starters Marcus Gilbert and J.R. Sweezy up front. Due to the lack of precedent behind this move, it is hard to tell how Murray will fare. But the unique talent has opened as Las Vegas’ offensive rookie of the year favorite.

Washington and Miami have not committed to a starting quarterback yet, but it is fairly safe to project Dwayne Haskins and Josh Rosen will see extensive time. While Case Keenum and Ryan Fitzpatrick could log starts, with the latter possibly even on track to do so, the Redskins have liked what their first-round pick has done so far and the Dolphins will need to see Rosen in games to help determine if they will consider a first-round QB in 2020. On the heels of a 50-touchdown pass season, the Ohio State product sits second in offensive rookie of the year odds. Although only eight passers have won this award since 1957, seven such instances have occurred since 2004.

Both Daniel Jones and Drew Lock could factor into their respective teams’ mixes later in the season. Of the 13 first-round QBs taken over the past four years, only Patrick Mahomes and Paxton Lynch were not promoted to the starting role as rookies. (Though, Eli Manning is not your typical stopgap.) Lock was projected by most as a first-rounder, and Flacco ceded his role to the No. 32 overall pick last year. So the 12th-year veteran’s grip on Denver’s job should be considered tenuous.

Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Jets, Raiders, Broncos, Hardman

During the hours leading up to the draft’s second night, the Jets were calling teams — the Seahawks, Colts and others — about trading way up into the second round. That did not end up happening. The Jets, who traded their Round 2 pick to the Colts last year for the right to move up to draft Sam Darnold, made the calls because of a desire to add one of the high-end cornerbacks available to start Day 2, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. Gang Green sought to jump into the top five of the second round, per Mehta, but they could not come to terms on a deal. Such a jump — from No. 68 into the 30s — would have required a significant draft capital subtraction. The Jets also had a deal with the Eagles to make a less costly move — up to No. 57 — to draft Mecole Hardman, but the Chiefs beat them to it. Corners Byron Murphy, Rock Ya-Sin, Sean Bunting and Trayvon Mullen all went off the board in the first eight picks Friday.

At corner, the Jets have 2018 free agent signing Trumaine Johnson and 2019 addition Brian Poole. As of now, they may be asking Darryl Roberts to be a starter. With no draft picks spent on the position, the Jets may still be on the lookout for help here.

Here is the latest post-draft news from the AFC:

  • The Raiders hoped to trade down from their No. 4 slot, but no calls came, Peter King of NBC Sports notes. Just about every high-end prospect was connected to the Raiders during the pre-draft process, but the team instead went with what most perceived as a bit of a reach in Clelin Ferrell. However, taking the Clemson talent at No. 4 was the team’s backup plan.
  • Joe Flacco‘s work in the early days of the Broncos‘ offseason program dissuaded John Elway from selecting a quarterback at No. 10 overall, something many mock drafts had the Broncos doing. “What made that decision is, Joe is fitting really well with what we want to do offensively, and he looked great in our minicamp last week,” Elway said Thursday, via King. “He really put on a throwing exhibition last week in camp. I truly think we’ve got a guy coming into his prime.” Of course, less than 24 hours later, Drew Lock was a Bronco. Both King and SI.com’s Albert Breer report the Mizzou prospect was the top passer on Denver’s board, with Breer adding that Elway continually brought up Lock in pre-draft meetings, pointing further to the potential value investment at No. 42.
  • As for what would have happened if the Broncos did not receive a strong Steelers offer for No. 10? Denver would have a new starting inside linebacker, with King writing the Broncos would have taken Devin Bush and addressed their offensive needs later.
  • While the Chiefs‘ Hardman pick looks like a Tyreek Hill emergency replacement, and was chosen three rounds ahead of when the polarizing star was taken three years ago, the team views the Georgia speedster as a cross between Hill and gadget-type weapon De’Anthony Thomas — both in terms of role and talent, Breer writes.
  • Of their six 2019 picks, the Jets used one on an offensive lineman — third-round tackle Chuma Edoga. Gang Green entered free agency with plenty of needs up front. While All-Pro Kelechi Osemele is now slotted in as one of the Jets’ first-string guards, Tom Compton represented the team’s only other veteran addition. Although, Jonotthan Harrison re-signed and appears to be a firm option to start, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes. The Jets were eyeing interior lineman Connor McGovern in Round 3, per Vacchiano, but the Cowboys beat them to him. As of now, Harrison — a career part-time starter with the Colts who ended last season as the Jets’ top center — is first in line to snap.

AFC West Notes: Chargers, Stick, Broncos

On Saturday, the Chargers drafted their first quarterback since 2013 when they tapped North Dakota State University quarterback Easton Stick. Stick, who rushed for 2,523 yards and 41 TDs, was pegged by some as a Taysom Hill type who could be deployed more as a trick play type than a traditional QB, but the Bolts say that’s not how they plan on using him.

He’s going to play quarterback for us. We have running backs,” head coach Anthony Lynn said (via the Associated Press). “We don’t a need a quarterback that can run all over the place, but he can certainly create when he has to.”

Of course, as a fifth-round pick, nothing is guaranteed for the mobile signal caller. Stick will look to stick on the Chargers’ roster by proving himself between now and the start of the season in September.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • Giants GM Dave Gettleman raised eyebrows everywhere when he selected Duke quarterback Daniel Jones No. 6 overall. After the draft, he defended the pick by saying that two teams were prepared to select Jones before the Giants’ next pick at No. 17. So far, it has been hard to identify who these two teams might be, and Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter) confirms that the Broncos were not one of them. The Broncos, he hears, ruled out taking any QB at No. 10 overall and, furthermore, had Drew Lock as their top-ranked QB – not Jones.
  • The Raiders provided the draft’s other major first round surprise when they tapped Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall. Many feel that the Raiders reached for the defensive end, but that’s not how defensive coordinator Paul Guenther sees it. “It wasn’t about his 40-time or his three-cone drill or any of that [BS], it was about the whole package,” the DC said (via The Athletic). “There just aren’t a lot of guys like this. Some guys are great standing up, but you have to get down and dirty in the NFL. They are not just going to let you run up the field all day, you know what I am saying? Then you hear him talk and you’re like, ‘Damn, this guy is a pro.’
  • Over the weekend, longtime Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski announced his retirement from the NFL.

Giants GM Dave Gettleman Defends Drafting Daniel Jones At No. 6

Giants GM Dave Gettleman has already dealt with plenty of criticism for selecting Duke QB Daniel Jones with the No. 6 overall pick of this year’s draft. We heard on Friday that Gettleman may have been concerned that the Redskins — who held the No. 15 overall pick — were going to nab Jones, which forced him to take the former Blue Devil at No. 6 rather than wait until the Giants were on the clock again at No. 17.

And as Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv tweets, Gettleman says he knows for a fact that at least two teams would have taken Jones between pick nos. 6 and 17. Those two teams, according to Vacchiano’s sources, are the Redskins and Broncos.

However, ESPN’s Dianna Russini tweets that the Redskins were never going to draft Jones, and Russini says the Broncos were not interested in Jones either. Mike Klis of 9News tweets that Denver was not going to take any QB with its No. 10 overall selection, and that Drew Lock was the team’s top-rated quarterback. Klis says the Broncos were considering a trade into the back end of the first round to take Lock, but Jones was not on the radar at No. 10.

Of course, other clubs, like the Bengals (No. 11) or Dolphins (No. 13), could have been in the market for Jones in the first round, but it appears that the top two purported threats to Gettleman’s favorite QB weren’t threats at all.

If Jones ultimately is successful with Big Blue, this will all become an amusing footnote to the story of his career. But if he’s not, Gettleman will have a major blemish on his run as the team’s GM.