Dwayne Haskins

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Haskins, Giants

As other teams continue to finalize pivotal extensions, work remains for the Cowboys on this front. Contract talks are ongoing for Dallas’ standout trio — Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper — entering the team’s first preseason game, and ESPN.com’s Todd Archer notes none of these contracts is particularly close to being done. Nevertheless, Jerry Jones remains confident.

You just know like so many things it’ll happen. It’ll happen,” Jones said of the extensions. “There literally is no concern on my part at all about any timeframe. That’ll happen. The results are too good for them and too good for the Cowboys. Think about it a minute. The results are too good for them and too good for the Cowboys. That always happens when it’s good for both (sides).”

Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones has mentioned possible team-friendly discounts for these players, due to the financial opportunities that come with playing with this particular franchise, and added the team not does not intend to set positional markets. (For what it’s worth, the Cowboys set the guard market last summer with Zack Martin.) Elliott, however, remains a holdout — with two days remaining until the Aug. 6 date that will determine whether the running back is a UFA or an RFA in 2020 — and Prescott does not sound receptive to a Cowboys-friendly deal.

Going from the Cowboys’ off-field matters to some of their rivals’ on-field setups, here is the NFC East’s latest:

  • Although Colt McCoy spent the offseason rehabbing a broken leg, he emerged as the Redskins‘ starting quarterback on their first depth chart. It is not certain he will take the snaps in Week 1, but J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington indicates camp work thus far has revealed this competition has become a two-man battle between McCoy and Case Keenum. It should be expected Dwayne Haskins takes over at some point this season, but Finlay notes the first-round pick has not looked ready yet. Haskins sits as Washington’s QB3 on the first depth chart.
  • Despite Dexter Lawrence tipping the scales north of 340 pounds, the Giants are playing him as a five-technique defensive end, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com notes. This will accommodate the 318-pound Dalvin Tomlinson, who moved from end to tackle after Damon Harrison was traded midseason. Tomlinson is indeed operating as Big Blue’s first-string nose. Lawrence played the nose spot at Clemson but has impressed the Giants with his pass-rushing ability this offseason. The mammoth defensive lineman registered 1.5 sacks last season but collected 6.5 as a freshman in 2016. Either way, New York will boast a physically imposing defensive front.
  • Darius Slayton‘s encouraging offseason has not yet translated to camp, with the rookie wide receiver joining some higher-profile Giants wideouts in being unavailable. Slayton has missed 10 consecutive practices because of a hamstring injury, Dunleavy notes. For the non-Giants-following sect, Sterling Shepard broke his thumb, Corey Coleman tore his ACL and Golden Tate received a four-game suspension since camp began.

Extra Points: Redskins, Supplemental Draft, Jets

The Redskins are going to be one of the more interesting teams to monitor during training camp. They have a bunch of interesting storylines, none bigger than the battle between rookie Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum to be the team’s starting quarterback. Speaking to Steve Wyche of NFL Network recently, Redskins GM Doug Williams indicated that the front office and even ownership would play a role in determining when Haskins starts (Twitter link).

Williams specifically indicated the decision would not be head coach Jay Gruden’s alone, saying that he, Gruden, team president Bruce Allen, and owner Dan Snyder would come together to make a decision. That news is sure to rile up Redskins fans, who have mixed feelings on Snyder, to put it nicely. Williams said he was excited about Haskins’ development, but made sure to emphasize they wouldn’t just throw him out there if he wasn’t ready. That’s the language any team is going to speak, and the part about it being a collaborative process is the real eyebrow-raiser here. Gruden appears to be coaching for his job this season, and Washington won’t be able to keep Haskins on the bench too long unless Keenum looks lights out during the preseason.

Here’s a couple of other notes from around the league on a slow Saturday evening:

  • The supplemental draft got a lot more interesting earlier today when Washington State safety Jalen Thompson announced he’d be entering. The three previous players to enter July’s supplemental draft weren’t too noteworthy, but Thompson is intriguing. Thompson seems like a near-lock to get drafted, and Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com tweets that scouts had given him a 3rd/4th round grade prior to last season. Pauline also notes that the three-year starter has scheduled a July 8th workout for NFL teams in Los Angeles. It’ll likely be heavily attended. While we don’t have the full details yet on why Thompson was ruled ineligible for the 2019 NCAA season and had to declare, Washington State did issue a statement, per Jessamyn McIntyre (Twitter link). In their statement, the Cougars simply said he lost his final season of eligibility “due to a violation of NCAA rules.”
  • The Jets took a gamble by drafting defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd in the third round last year, and so far it hasn’t paid off. Shepherd played at small-school Fort Hays State so he was a bit hard to scout, but the team banked on his upside when they took him 72nd overall. Shepherd played around 30 percent of the team’s defensive snaps as a rookie, but didn’t play particularly well and appears to be falling out of favor with the new coaching staff. While breaking down the team’s depth chart, Matt Stypulkoski of NJ.com writes that Shepherd’s stock has gone down so far this offseason, saying it “sure seems like it only took one season for Shepherd to turn into something of a forgotten man,” and adding that he “hasn’t proven enough.” There’s still a long way to go, so Shepherd could always find himself back in favor with Adam Gase, but right now things aren’t looking great.
  • In case you missed it, the Chiefs could reopen extension talks with Tyreek Hill now that it looks like he’ll emerge from the league’s investigation relatively cleanly.

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.

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NFC East Rumors: Redskins, Cowboys, Giants

Jay Gruden studied this year’s quarterback class extensively, watching every throw each of the high- and mid-tier prospects made. The sixth-year Redskins coach said he did more work on this year’s QB class than he had in any draft since 2011, when the Bengals, Gruden’s employer at the time, selected Andy Dalton. In addition to Dwayne Haskins‘ arm strength, Gruden said the one-year Ohio State starter’s presence reminded him of Cam Newton.

They’re all pretty confident kids, bright-eyed. I was impressed with the entire class,” Gruden said, via Albert Breer of SI.com. “But (Haskins) has a demeanor and aura about him, kind of similar to Cam Newton coming out, just an aura of confidence. There’s something about him. When you’re around him, you feel like he’s got it, everything’s going to be OK — that he’s going to be successful, because he believes it.”

Haskins and Case Keenum will split the Redskins’ first-team reps, with Colt McCoy still out because of his fractured fibula injury. However, McCoy is expected to participate partially in Washington’s minicamp and be ready for training camp, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). While Gruden said Haskins is no lock to play this year, nearly every recent first-round passer chosen becoming a first-season starter points to the newcomer taking the reins early.

Here is the latest from the NFC East, shifting to news out of Dallas:

  • The Cowboys will not have Taco Charlton in action for a bit. The former first-round pick underwent ankle surgery recently, Calvin Watkins of The Athletic tweets. While Watkins describes this as a minor procedure, Charlton will likely miss Dallas’ offseason activities. He is expected to be ready for camp. This marks the second operation Charlton has undergone this offseason. Shortly after the Cowboys’ 2018 season concluded, the 24-year-old defensive end had shoulder surgery.
  • One of Charlton’s defensive line mates may have to face the prospect of missing regular-season time. Tyrone Crawford was popped with a misdemeanor charge of unlawful assembly related to the March incident at a Florida bar, Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com writes. An affidavit indicates Crawford, after being removed from the bar, threw punches at multiple security officers and hit at least one of them. This seems likely to produce a suspension for the veteran defensive lineman.
  • Cowboys seventh-round running back Mike Weber injured his knee over the weekend, but it appears he avoided a serious setback. Weber went through an MRI but was back on the practice field Sunday, per Breer. Weber is expected to compete for time behind Ezekiel Elliott and fourth-round pick Tony Pollard, with Weber profiling as more of a traditional back compared to the versatile Pollard. The Cowboys lost previous Elliott backup Rod Smith to the Giants in free agency.
  • Mike Remmers will not have a free pass to the Giants’ starting lineup. Offensive line coach Hal Hunter named incumbent Chad Wheeler the first-string right tackle last week, but that was before Remmers was signed. “It is up to (Wheeler) to hold that position,” Hunter said, via Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com. “It is up to everyone else to beat him out.” Remmers’ contract (one year, $2.5MM), history (64 starts) and connections to Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur would point to him having the upper hand. Wheeler took over for Ereck Flowers early last season and graded as Pro Football Focus’ third-worst full-time tackle. The Giants were connected to multiple free agent right tackles this offseason.

Latest On Redskins’ QB Situation

The Redskins’ starting quarterback race is wide open at the moment, but as John Keim of ESPN.com writes, 2019 first-rounder Dwayne Haskins is already making his case for the job.

Haskins has impressed after two days of rookie minicamp, and head coach Jay Gruden said of the Ohio State product, “[i]t’s been a treat. He’s made some throws that turn your head without a doubt.”

Of course, Haskins still has a long way to go, and two days of rookie minicamp will not make or break his future with Washington. But as the No. 15 overall pick, he will certainly be given ample opportunity to start right away, and his performance thus far has been promising.

The Redskins’ OTAs and mandatory minicamp will be critical in clarifying the team’s quarterback situation, because Gruden does not like to have a three-man competition in training camp. He believes, understandably, that it is too difficult to divide meaningful repetitions between three players, so the pressure is on Haskins and veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy over the coming weeks.

Given that Haskins has a lot of basics to master — like his footwork and dropping back from under center, which he did not do in college — Keenum and McCoy may have a leg up for the time being, especially since Gruden’s job security is tenuous at best and he needs to win games in 2019 to keep his post. But Haskins obviously has the highest upside of any of the three competitors, and the Redskins expect him to develop quickly.

Gruden said, “The most important thing in the next couple weeks is, let’s see how far we can push [Haskins]. Let’s see if there is a chance he can win the job. If we feel like he’s coming along slower, then we have to maybe push Case or push Colt. But if we feel like [Haskins] is coming along and he’s firing and he’s comfortable, then we’ll play it out and see what happens.”

Gruden sounds like a man who wants his rookie signal-caller to seize the opportunity and run with it, and Haskins is up for the challenge. He said, “I’ll be ready for whatever the coaches want from me, whether that’s starting right away or next year or through the season. I’ll prepare like I’m the starter.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Sign Dwayne Haskins, 6 Others

Washington’s quarterback of the future signed his rookie deal on Thursday. Dwayne Haskins inked his four-year contract, with the 2023 option, the Redskins announced.

Chosen No. 15 overall, the Ohio State product signed his slot deal — worth $14.416MM with an $8.504MM signing bonus.

Six other Redskins draftees joined Haskins in signing shortly before the team begins its rookie minicamp. Running back Bryce Love, guard Wes Martin, center Ross Pierschbacher, linebacker Cole Holcomb, wide receiver Kelvin Harmon and cornerback Jimmy Moreland signed their four-year rookie pacts.

The second Redskins first-round quarterback pick this decade and fourth this century — following Patrick Ramsey, Jason Campbell, and Robert Griffin III — Haskins comes to Washington on the heels of throwing 50 touchdown passes as a sophomore. He joins a new-look Redskins quarterback room, featuring Case Keenum, and will likely see extensive action as a rookie.

The only members of Washington’s draft class yet to sign are Montez Sweat and Haskins’ college teammate Terry McLaurin.

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Redskins Select QB Dwayne Haskins

The third quarterback is off the board. The Redskins have selected Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the No. 15 pick.

We heard yesterday that the organization was split on not only which quarterback to select, but whether they should be taking a signal-caller at all. Team president Bruce Allen and owner Dan Snyder were reportedly fixated on Haskins, while others were focused on Duke quarterback Daniel Jones. After the Giants ended up selecting Jones, Washington’s decision was seemingly made for them.

There was some hype that Haskins could end up being selected in the top-six, as both the Raiders and Giants had been connected to the quarterback. Considering the uncertainty, there were also some whispers that the Redskins would look to leapfrog both Oakland and New York, with the Jets’ third-overall pick seeming like a natural match.

The hype for Haskins is justified after a breakout campaign in 2018. The quarterback completed 70-percent of his passes for 4,831 yards, an eye-popping 50 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions. His lack of experience was seen as a con among some pundits, although scouts universally touted his size and arm strength.

With Alex Smith shelved indefinitely, the Redskins will have an intriguing quarterback battle this offseason. The organization acquired Case Keenum earlier this offseason, while backup Colt McCoy re-signed with the team.

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Draft Notes: Steelers, Jets, Giants, Dolphins

One of the more traditional NFL franchises, in terms of offseason aggression, the Steelers appear to recognize the urgency their recent defensive struggles have created. They are making calls about a possible trade-up from their No. 20 spot, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The Steelers boast big needs at cornerback and linebacker. It is believed the Steelers will be able to land a corner, perhaps the first corner to go in this draft, at 20. But if Pittsburgh wants to make a big move for a linebacker, it will likely need to acquire a top-10 pick. Devin White is viewed at this point as a top-10 lock, and the Broncos have been the team most connected to Devin Bush at No. 10.

Here is the latest from the draft world, hours away from the 2019 event:

  • The Jets have been a highly motivated seller at No. 3, and Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes (on Twitter) the team almost certainly will have a market to move back. Three GMs informed Mehta the Jets will be able to trade back, if they so choose, despite a sense existing as recently as Wednesday Gang Green would not be successful in moving its pick. This is, however, contingent on Nick Bosa being gone at No. 2, with Mehta adding the Jets would likely select the Ohio State-developed edge rusher if he were available.
  • There may be another seller in the AFC East. Earlier on Thursday, the Dolphins were viewed as a trade-down candidate. Teams are now hearing, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (video link), Miami is quite motivated to move back from No. 13. The Dolphins are receiving calls about their pick, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). This would make sense, given where the Dolphins are in their rebuilding process. However, they have done extensive work on both Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones, per Pelissero. But with Miami being mentioned as a candidate to wait until the higher-profile 2020 quarterback class to land its passer, Pelissero adds the Dolphins could pass on both Haskins and Jones even if they were available at 13.
  • John Elway also mentioned the probable 2020 QB class this offseason, and it appears likely his team will not select a signal-caller at No. 10. The Broncos have been connected to quarterback at 10, but it doesn’t seem like that will be the move, James Palmer of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. Instead, it seems more likely that the Broncos will target inside linebacker, defensive line, and tight end help in the draft.
  • More consistently linked to QBs than either the Dolphins or Broncos, the Giants have a major decision between their top short- or long-term need at No. 6. Viewed as possibly having executed a Haskins smokescreen operation, the Giants may prefer Jones or Drew Lock over him. While Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv notes they “love” both Jones and Lock, neither may be in play at No. 6. Instead, Big Blue may be gambling it can land one of them at No. 17. This would point to the Giants selecting a pass rusher with their initial first-round pick tonight.

Redskins Split On NFL Draft QBs

The Redskins are not only in disagreement about whether to select a quarterback with their top pick – they’re also not sure about which quarterback to select, Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. Team president Bruce Allen and owner Dan Snyder are fixated on Dwayne Haskins, but there is a case being made in the building for Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, according to Russini’s sources. 

It would be troubling, to say the least, if the Redskins are indeed deeply fractured on which quarterback to take with just hours to go before the start of the NFL Draft. Picking at No. 15 overall, the Redskins need to quickly decide whether it’s Haskins or Jones that they want. Right now, it seems doubtful that Haskins will be available with the No. 15 choice, so Washington will probably have to move up into the top 10 if they want a shot at the Ohio State standout.

Jones, meanwhile, could potentially be had at No. 15, but nothing is guaranteed in the draft, particularly when it comes to QBs.

For now, the Redskins are set to go into 2019 with Case Keenum as their QB. Alex Smith, of course, is sidelined after his gruesome leg injury from last year and Colt McCoy is also working his way back from a broken leg of his own.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Considering QB With No. 4 Overall Pick?

Just over a week ago, we heard that the Raiders were unlikely to use one of their three first-round picks on a QB. However, a report from earlier this week suggested that Oakland would be sorely tempted by Kyler Murray if he should slip past the Cardinals, and now Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says that Murray isn’t the only signal-caller the Raiders will consider with the No. 4 overall pick (video link).

RapSheet says rumors connecting the Raiders to a QB continue to persist, and although the team has been steadfast in its support of Derek Carr, Murray and Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins were very impressive to Oakland brass. The implication here is that, assuming no one trades above the Raiders at No. 4, Haskins (or Murray) could very well be Oakland-bound.

That is why teams like the Redskins who are interested in Haskins are concerned with getting above both the Giants, who hold the No. 6 overall pick, and the Raiders. That is welcome news for the Jets, who have the No. 3 overall pick and who are anxious to trade down.

Top defensive prospects like Quinnen Williams have generally been mocked to the Raiders, and the club still could go in that direction. But head coach Jon Gruden is not shy about making bold decisions, and if the team went with Haskins, it could give itself another future trade chip in Carr, and it could still address more glaring needs with its other first round picks.

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