E.J. Manuel

Chiefs QB E.J. Manuel Retires

Quarterback E.J. Manuel has retired from the NFL, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Manuel signed with the Chiefs this offseason, but he’ll walk away from the sport instead of continuing down that path. 

Manuel, 29, has not suited up since his 2017 season with the Raiders. Before that, the former first-round pick spent the first four years of his career with the Bills. All in all, Manuel exits the NFL with a lifetime 6-12 record, a 58.1% completion percentage, and 20 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. The Florida State product did not live up to his first-round draft billing, but he made millions playing football at a professional level.

Manuel’s retirement still leaves the Chiefs with six QBs on the offseason roster: Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne, T.J. Linta, Chase Litton, John Lovett, and Kyle Shurmur.

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Chiefs Sign EJ Manuel, Sammie Coates

The Chiefs have signed quarterback EJ Manuel and wide receiver Sammie Coates, according to a team announcement. They also inked receiver Davon Grayson and defensive back Dontae Johnson

Manuel, 29 in March, has not suited up since his 2017 season with the Raiders. Before that, the former first-round pick spent the first four years of his career with the Bills. All in all, Manuel has a career 6-12 record, a 58.1% completion percentage, and 20 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. The Florida State product has not lived up to his draft billing so far, but he’ll look to impress in Kansas City and stick as a backup to star Patrick Mahomes.

Coates, 26 in March, made some noise with the Steelers as a youngster but has not done a whole lot over the last two years. He had six catches for 70 yards with the Browns in 2017 and had just one catch for 12 yards in his run with the Texans last year. Coates auditioned for the Colts and Cowboys towards the end of the 2018 season, but did not sign with either club.

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Redskins To Work Out Free Agent QBs

After losing their top two quarterbacks to injury, the Redskins are in the market for another signal caller. The Redskins will once again audition E.J. Manuel, T.J. Yates, Josh Johnson, and others as they look to support de facto starter Mark Sanchez, coach Jay Gruden announced. 

Naturally, reporters pressed Gruden on whether Colin Kaepernick is or was a consideration for the team. Gruden acknowledged that Kaepernick was discussed, but it doesn’t sound as though he was a real candidate for the Redskins.

[There’s] not a lot of time to get a brand new QB and a system installed and taught in a couple days. He’s been talked about and discussed, but we’ll probably go in a different direction,” Gruden said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s John Keim).

Backup Colt McCoy stepped in when Alex Smith was lost to a scary leg injury, but McCoy was knocked out of action this week when he suffered a broken fibula of his own. McCoy is holding out hope that he can return in a matter of weeks, but that will be a moot point unless Sanchez can lead the Redskins to a winning streak that will put them in the playoff mix.

The 6-6 Redskins have a 26% chance of reaching the playoffs and a 7% chance of bypassing the Cowboys and Eagles for the divisional crown. It’ll be an uphill battle, however, with Sanchez under center behind a depleted offensive line.

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Redskins To Work Out Mark Sanchez, Others

The Redskins are bringing in a group of quarterbacks to work out on Monday, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Mark Sanchez, E.J. Manuel, and T.J. Yates will show their stuff for Washington as they seek a new backup quarterback for new starting QB Colt McCoy. Kellen Clemens and Josh Johnson will also get a workout, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets.

McCoy was thrust into the starting lineup when Smith suffered a broken tibia and fibia. This trio of prospective QBs is not the most exciting bunch, but the Redskins are hoping that none of the three veterans will have to see action.

McCoy has not attempted a pass since 2015, but he is considered one of the NFL’s better No. 2 signal callers. In recent years, the team has flirted with the idea of starting him, so they clearly have confidence in his ability.

On the plus side, all four veterans offer NFL experience. By the end of business on Monday, one of them will take a step closer to seeing live action.

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Manuel, Allen Join 49ers’ QB Auditions

The 49ers are doing their homework in their search for a backup quarterback. More names continue to surface as Kyle Shanahan‘s coaching staff examines how they’ll go about organizing their post-Jimmy Garoppolo passer depth chart.

E.J. Manuel and Kyle Allen worked out for the 49ers on Tuesday, NFL reporter Howard Balzer tweets. This brings the total of San Francisco signal-caller auditions to seven. Tom Savage, T.J. Yates, Matt Simms, Landry Jones, Kellen Clemens, Manuel and Allen comprise the list so far.

San Francisco already promoted quarterback Nick Mullens from its practice squad, and Shanahan said C.J. Beathard will be his starter following Garoppolo’s season-ending ACL tear. But the team appears focused on adding a veteran passer. Shanahan also said Colin Kaepernick will not be considered, due to the longtime 49ers starter not being a good fit for his offense.

Manuel could not make the Raiders’ 53-man roster and has not come close to justifying his former No. 16 overall draft status. However, he was on an NFL roster from 2013-17 and has made 18 career starts. He’s only 58 percent career passer (with just 5.8 yards per attempt) and has a 20-to-16 career TD pass-to-INT ratio.

Allen worked out for the Patriots, Raiders and Redskins this month. The Houston product was a Panthers practice squad cog before the team released him from its 10-man unit earlier in September.

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Raiders Announce Roster Cuts

Trading Khalil Mack wasn’t the Raiders’ only order of business Saturday. They’ve also moved their roster to 53 players by making the following transactions:

Waived:

Released:

Waived/injured:

Placed on injured reserve:

Placed on PUP list:

Could Raiders Acquire Veteran QB?

Even though he regressed a bit in 2017 after a stellar 2016 campaign, Derek Carr is entrenched as the Raiders’ starting quarterback for the foreseeable future, and Oakland is perfectly okay with that. However, the Raiders and new/old head coach Jon Gruden are not as pleased with their backup situation.

As Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, the battle to be Carr’s backup has no apparent winner, and Gruden did not dismiss the possibility that the team could bring in outside help. Connor Cook had a strong preseason debut this year, completing 11 of 19 attempts for 141 yards and a touchdown against the Lions, but his next two outings were not nearly as promising. EJ Manuel, meanwhile, lost his third fumble in three preseason games on Friday night, and he recovered another fumble after a bad snap.

When asked on Friday if the Raiders’ backup quarterback is currently on their roster, Gruden said, “I don’t know. We’re going to continue to work, continue to see who’s available. I thought there were some good moments tonight and there were some moments tonight that weren’t good. It’s been too inconsistent. But I’m not going to say much more tonight until I see the tape. We’re going to continue to evaluate it.”

At this point in the year, the list of free agent quarterbacks does not offer any clear upgrades over Cook or Manuel, with players like Matt Moore, Derek Anderson, and Mark Sanchez representing the best options (excluding Colin Kaepernick, of course). Teddy Bridgewater‘s name has come up in trade rumors, and while it’s not clear if the Jets are willing to part with him, other signal-callers — like Baltimore’s Robert Griffin III, who has enjoyed a strong preseason — could become available via trade.

Carr has suffered injuries in each of the past two seasons, so the No. 2 QB job is an important one to an Oakland team that has playoff aspirations. Manuel was adequate while filling in for Carr in 2017, though Kawahara writes that Cook received a large share of second-team reps in training camp this summer. The Raiders did trade for Christian Hackenberg back in May, but the Penn State product lasted less than a month on the team’s roster, and he is with the Eagles for the time being.

In other Raiders news, Scott Bair of NBCSports.com writes that, after a disastrous start to his NFL career — which saw him go unclaimed on waivers just one year after being selected in the third round of the draft — Shilique Calhoun is firmly in the mix to make Oakland’s roster. Bair also notes that rookie kicker Eddy Pineiro remains sidelined with a groin injury, and Gruden has not put a timetable on his return. The longer Pineiro remains shelved, the better veteran Mike Nugent‘s chances are to make the team.

 

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Raiders Re-Sign QB E.J. Manuel

The Raiders have re-signed backup quarterback EJ Manuel, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Terms of the deal are not yet known, but his spot on Jon Gruden‘s 53-man roster may not be a lock. 

The Raiders still have 2016 fourth-round pick Connor Cook under contract and they added free agent Josh Johnson earlier this month. Only two of those three QBs can stick around to play behind Derek Carr and there’s still the possibility that Oakland will draft a signal caller in April.

Last year, Manuel appeared in two games for the Raiders in Carr’s absence. He completed just 24 of 43 throws with one touchdown against one interception. The Raiders lost both of those games and Carr returned to action in Week 6.

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Albert Breer On Cousins, Garoppolo, Raiders

This year’s free agent quarterback market is shaping up to be one of the strongest in recent memory, Albert Breer of The MMQB writes. Teams are always eager to draft their next franchise QB, but this year it might make more sense for teams to sign a veteran instead. Kirk Cousins (vertical)

Fans and media want their guy—the start-from-the-bottom, untainted rookie,” one AFC exec told Breer. “And the Moneyball guys will say it’s cheaper through the draft, which is true. Bu if the point is to have a functional starting quarterback, any football guy will tell you that while everyone wants a Brady or Rodgers, the reality is those are fewer and father between. So a Kirk Cousins or a Jimmy Garoppolo? I think football guys are drooling over that. If a guy like that gets out in free agency? You see what K.C. can do with Alex Smith. Put Cousins on a good squad with a good coach, I don’t know many football guys that’ll say that won’t work. And all those guys you named, they all can play at a starting caliber level … You can solve your problem before you get to the draft.”

The crop of potentially available signal callers goes far beyond just Cousins and Garoppolo. Drew Brees, who turns 39 in January, has looked great through the first month of the season. At least one of the Vikings’ signal callers – Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater – should be there for the taking in March and the aforementioned Smith might not have a place in Kansas City thanks to the presence of Patrick Mahomes. Meanwhile, A.J. McCarron is still viewed as a hot property even though he’s on the Bengals’ bench.

Here’s more from Breer’s column:

  • Did the Patriots make a mistake by signing cornerback Stephon Gilmore this offseason? Gilmore made costly mental and communication errors against Carolina on Sunday and that’s nothing new, based on what three sources who were in Buffalo last season tell Breer. Gilmore did quite a bit of finger-pointing last year, they say, and also made business decisions on run plays as he nursed a shoulder injury. Gilmore is in Year One of a five-year, $65MM deal which included an $18MM signing bonus. The pact calls for $31MM fully guaranteed through 2018.
  • The Raiders didn’t give much consideration at all to signing a stopgap quarterback in the wake of Derek Carr’s injury, Breer hears. That could have been a deliberate move to keep the team’s confidence high, but he hears that the Raiders legitimately like what they have in EJ Manuel and Connor Cook. Eyebrows were raised when it was reported that the Raiders did not consider signing Colin Kaepernick, but it sounds like they didn’t give real though to signing any quarterback.

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West Notes: Veach, Mahomes, Raiders, 49ers

Andy Reid credited recently hired GM Brett Veach of alerting him to the likes of DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Fletcher Cox during the duo’s time together with the Eagles. The new Chiefs GM’s latest pet project was a player who figures to have a big say in whether the franchise can challenge for a Super Bowl title in the years to come. Reid said Veach was “all in on” Patrick Mahomes during the franchise’s draft preparation and brought the Texas Tech prospect onto he and then-GM John Dorsey‘s radar.

If he brings you (a player) and he’s that sold on him, you better take a look at him,” Reid said, via Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star. “He’s brought to me (guys) like DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Fletcher Cox — all these guys, and it was early, before anybody really had a beat on it. And (back then) … I’m going, ‘Wow, he’s got kind of a knack for this thing.”

The Chiefs have brought in several cornerstone players during Dorsey and Veach’s time as top execs, with Travis Kelce, Marcus Peters and Tyreek Hill becoming first-team All-Pros in 2016. Mahomes recently commandeered Kansas City’s backup quarterback job.

Here’s the latest out of the Western divisions.

  • Viewed as the AFC West favorite despite the Chiefs’ sweep in this rivalry last season, the Raiders have seen their backup quarterback picture clear up to some degree in recent days. Jack Del Rio said (via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle) said E.J. Manuel has outperformed Connor Cook so far and is in the No. 2 spot behind Derek Carr. A former Bills first-rounder, Manuel signed a modest one-year deal with the Raiders early in free agency.
  • The Raiders’ current depth chart has two recent Day 3 draft picks as starters at the non-rush linebacker spots, with second-year sixth-rounder Cory James stationed as Oakland’s first-team weakside ‘backer and fifth-round rookie Marquel Lee in the middle. Lee’s spot may be less certain, per Tafur, who adds the Raiders will likely look to the waiver wire to add another inside linebacker if the Wake Forest product falters. The Raiders signed Perry Riley midway through last season, and the former Redskins starter became a quality performer for the Silver and Black. Still a free agent, the 29-year-old Riley would seemingly be an option. Reggie McKenzie said the 2016 starter was a consideration, but that was back in May. The Dolphins passed on Riley as a Raekwon McMillan replacement, choosing to sign Rey Maualuga instead.
  • The 49ers entered camp uncertain if they had one starting-caliber guard on their roster, let alone two, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com notes. Brandon Fusco will play right guard, but the 49ers are on the lookout for outside help opposite the longtime Vikings cog, Maiocco reports. Zane Beadles is penciled in on the other side, with Joshua Garnett sidelined due to knee surgery.
  • Jimmie Ward will return to safety this season after a lengthy cornerback experiment, but the 49ers have yet to see him work at that spot during camp. Maiocco reports the 49ers expect the fourth-year defensive back to be cleared this week. He suffered a hamstring injury during San Francisco’s conditioning tests.
  • Maiocco adds recently signed corner K’Waun Williams is in position to function as the 49ers’ top nickel back. He’s in the lead over 2016 third-rounder Will Redmond for that job. Neither Williams nor Redmond played last season. A torn ACL during his final college season led to Redmond missing 2016, and a controversial injury ended Williams’ time with the Browns. Cleveland’s two-year slot corner was not on a team last season but participated in a lengthy visit tour before deciding on a one-year, $765K deal with the 49ers.
  • The Seahawks will have a decision to make on Luke Joeckel‘s position after starting left tackle George Fant tore his ACL Friday night.