Pro Football RumorsPro Football Rumors https://www.profootballrumors.com NFL Rumors: Trades, Free Agency, Draft Mon, 18 Jun 2018 02:58:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.6 Extra Points: Bucs, Butt, Browns, Dobbs https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/extra-points-winston-buccaneers-cook-butt-broncos-kendricks-browns-steelers-dobbs https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/extra-points-winston-buccaneers-cook-butt-broncos-kendricks-browns-steelers-dobbs#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 02:56:13 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=110386 The NFL is still investigating Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston for allegedly groping an Uber driver in 2016. It’s been seven months since an unnamed woman’s allegation surfaced, but NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said (via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times) the matter “remains under review.” Winston has long denied any wrongdoing, but even if no charges were brought, the fourth-year quarterback could face NFL discipline. The Bucs open the season with games against the Saints, Eagles and Steelers. They re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started three games last season, in preparation for this, Stroud notes, adding that they believe the 35-year-old veteran is the best option to navigate that stretch if Winston is suspended. Of course, if the Bucs go into training camp without knowing if Winston will be suspended, it could make allocating reps difficult.

As minicamp week concludes, here’s the latest news:

  • The Browns plan to slot Mychal Kendricks at weakside linebacker going into camp, per Zac Jackson of The Athletic (subscription required). Christian Kirksey played every snap at that spot last season and is signed long-term. Jackson doesn’t see him losing his job. The Browns believe Kendricks can play all three linebacker positions, but how Cleveland distributes playing time will be interesting since Jamie Collins — the league’s highest-paid off-ball linebacker — and 2017 Pro Bowler Joe Schobert are the other incumbents. It’s arguable Kendricks, long upset with his role in Philadelphia, had an easier path to playing time with the defending Super Bowl champions than he does with a team coming off an 0-16 season.
  • Excluding the 2 1/2 seasons Peyton Manning was healthy for the Broncos, the franchise has not been able to generate much from its tight end spot this decade. The Broncos, though, might have their best chance in a while to do so with one-time highly regarded prospect Jake Butt healthy. After essentially redshirting in 2017, which does not count as an accrued-service year for Butt since he spent it on Denver’s PUP list, the Michigan product could be in position to start. “He looks healthy, finally,” Vance Joseph said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “ … Right now, he’s totally healthy.” The Broncos have struggled for three years to generate much in the passing game outside of their two starting wideouts, but with Butt in the mix, Case Keenum figures to have more options than his immediate predecessors. Denver used a 2017 third-round pick on Carlos Henderson only to see him miss all of his rookie year, and the Broncos now have second- and fourth-round picks Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton potentially ready to fill the auxiliary pass-catcher void.
  • File this away to the what-if department: had the Buccaneers not selected O.J. Howard at No. 19 overall last year, they were “poised” to take Dalvin Cook, Stroud notes. This would have been a wildly different path for Cook, who sat on the board until the Vikings selected him at No. 41 overall. Tampa Bay instead waited a year to make a big draft investment at this position, taking Ronald Jones at No. 38 this year.
  • The SteelersMason Rudolph selection will likely leave Joshua Dobbs as the odd man out in Pittsburgh, barring injury. Pittsburgh is expected to go into the season with Ben Roethlisberger, Rudolph and Landry Jones as its three quarterbacks, Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes, leaving 2017 draftee Dobbs as either trade bait or waiver wire fodder. Jones is due $2.2MM this season but would profile as the veteran backup to complement the developing Rudolph.
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This Date In Transactions History: Jake Delhomme https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/this-date-in-transactions-history-jake-delhomme https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/this-date-in-transactions-history-jake-delhomme#comments Mon, 18 Jun 2018 01:24:27 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=110379 Much like the way the Colts were able to land Andrew Luck thanks to one disastrous season without their previous franchise quarterback available, the Panthers used 2010 to bottom out and be in position to draft Cam Newton.

Like the 2011 Colts, the Panthers only endured one woeful season without a clear quarterback plan. However, the long-term signal-caller solution prior to Newton produced some memorable moments. And the years-long partnership came together on this date 14 years ago. The Panthers agreed to a five-year extension with Jake Delhomme on June 17, 2004, locking him in as their quarterback of the 2000s.

Illustrating where the quarterback market has gone in the past several years, Delhomme’s deal was worth only $38MM. But Carolina initially signed Delhomme, previously a Saints backup behind Aaron Brooks, for $4MM over two years in 2003. That fall signaled the beginning of a nice run for the Panthers. Delhomme started 15 games to help lift Carolina to its first Super Bowl, after the Panthers notched upset victories in St. Louis and Philadelphia. Delhomme’s explosive second half in Super Bowl XXXVIII (in a game where he threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns) had the Panthers poised for overtime, only an illegal procedure penalty gave the Patriots prime field position for a game-winning drive that ended Carolina’s championship bid.

Nevertheless, the Panthers saw enough from Delhomme to extend him the following summer, and he delivered the best statistical seasons of his career on this contract. Delhomme threw a career-high 29 touchdown passes in 2004 and followed that up with a 24-TD-pass 2005 — his only Pro Bowl campaign — for a Panthers team that stormed to the NFC title game.

Carolina’s return to the playoffs, in 2008, brought the beginning of the end for the Delhomme’s run with the franchise.

Delhomme was unable to shake the five-interception performance in a divisional-round loss to the Cardinals, but he nevertheless played out that extension — and signed another (for five years and $42.5MM) shortly after the seminal 2009 loss to the Cards — starting 11 games in the ’09 campaign. Carolina, though, cut Delhomme in March 2010 and pivoted to Matt Moore and second-round rookie Jimmy Clausen for that 2010 slate. The Panthers went 2-14 that season, securing the No. 1 pick and a path for a new regime to draft Newton.

Perhaps the Panthers retaining Delhomme for one more season would not have afforded them No. 1 overall real estate and thus shaken up a loaded 2011 draft, one that saw the Broncos, Bills, Bengals, Cardinals and Falcons select standout performers at the Nos. 2-6 spots. However, the QBs selected in the first round after Newton (Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder) did not prove to be remotely in Newton’s class, making that No. 1 slot extraordinarily valuable.

Newton eclipsed Delhomme’s franchise record for most quarterback starts (90) in 2016; he’s at 108 entering this season.

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Giants Notes: Beckham, Webb, Hill, Riley https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/giants-notes-beckham-webb-lauletta-hill-riley https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/giants-notes-beckham-webb-lauletta-hill-riley#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 00:36:16 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=110375 The next several weeks could be crucial in the Giants/Odell Beckham Jr. relationship. The superstar wideout said he intends to show up to camp on time, but this may not be a full-on pledge. Instead, it could be contingent on how extension talks — currently not going well — proceed. In an expansive piece attempting to gauge this situation, ESPN.com’s Bill Barnwell writes the presence of Dave Gettleman could make a significant difference in this process.

Famously known as a hard-line negotiator, alienating Steve Smith and rescinding Josh Norman‘s franchise tag in Carolina, Gettleman has repeatedly said he wants the Giants to be geared around their ground game more than they have been in the past. He authorized the highest running back draft pick since Reggie Bush and could have four new starting offensive linemen come Week 1. Barnwell suggests the Giants could use this season to see how Saquon Barkley impacts their offense rather than authorizing a wide receiver-record contract for Beckham before the season. This strategy certainly wouldn’t go over well with Beckham, and it could run the risk of a lengthy holdout, but the Giants would also have the franchise tag as a short-term option in 2019.

Here’s the latest on Big Blue coming out of minicamp.

  • After minicamp, Davis Webb has a big lead on Kyle Lauletta for the backup job, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com notes. This would mark the 2017 third-rounder’s first time as the backup, with Geno Smith having held that job last season (save for Big Blue’s rough PR week in early December). However, Lauletta has impressed new OC Mike Shula. “He has a nice calmness about him,” Shula said of the rookie fourth-rounder. “If things don’t go exactly how they are drawn out on the board, his mind works pretty fast, so far, and he finds the next guy, gets through his progressions. He has a good feel for anticipation and touch, so I think he’s off to a good start.”
  • While Barkley and second-round pick Will Hernandez have moved into the Giants’ starting lineup, third-round pick B.J. Hill may be ready to join them. The rookie lined up alongside Damon Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson in the Giants’ new 3-4 scheme at minicamp, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic (subscription required). The Giants don’t have a surefire competitor that would deprive the N.C. State-developed rookie of a viable path to a Week 1 start, so this will be an interesting situation once training camp begins.
  • Another surprise starter could come in New York’s secondary. The Giants are preparing to give Eli Apple another chance at cornerback opposite Janoris Jenkins and aren’t as talented at this spot as they were with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also in the picture last season, but Duggan writes Landon Collins could have an interesting sidekick as well. Low-level UFA addition (and converted corner) Curtis Riley has a legitimate shot to start alongside Collins, per Duggan, after working extensively with the first unit in the offseason. Darian Thompson and Michael Thomas are among the others vying for that job with Riley, who played 11 games (no starts) with the Titans the past two seasons after entering the league as a UDFA in 2016.
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Roethlisberger Not Pursuing 2018 Extension https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/ben-roethlisberger-not-pursuing-extension-in-2018 https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/ben-roethlisberger-not-pursuing-extension-in-2018#comments Sun, 17 Jun 2018 23:14:55 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=110369 While Aaron Rodgers‘ deal has received the most publicity for being outdated among quarterback contracts, Ben Roethlisberger‘s 2015 extension is looking more Steelers-friendly than it did a year ago.

Signed to a four-year deal that pays him $21.85MM on average, Pittsburgh’s franchise quarterback is now well off the pace Matt Ryan ($30MM AAV) is now setting. Roethlisberger’s deal came in below Rodgers’ current contract ($22MM per year) and now sits 12th on the quarterback hierarchy.

The Steelers have a policy of not renegotiating contracts that have more than one year remaining on them. Although, Kevin Colbert said earlier this offseason a Roethlisberger 2018 extension isn’t off the table. Pittsburgh, however, shouldn’t expect a contentious battle from the signal-caller just yet.

I have two years on my contract. I’m not going to be one to sit here and worry about my contract,” Roethlisberger said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “That’s not my job. My job is to play football. I’ll let my representation, the Steelers worry about all that stuff. To me, it’s all about going out and playing now. I think there are a lot more, maybe a lot more important people who need to get their deals done now.

For me to do it two years out, if it doesn’t make sense for the team, I’m not going to sit here and worry about it.”

Surely alluding to Le’Veon Bell‘s impasse with the team, one that is less than a month from a possible point of no return that is the tag deadline, Roethlisberger doesn’t sound like he’s going to pursue a extension until after this year. He’ll be entering a contract year in 2019 just as Ryan was before his record-breaking re-up, thus increasing his leverage. While Roethlisberger be 37 shortly after this season concludes, the Steelers’ Super Bowl window may well coincide with his employment.

The 15th-year quarterback also doesn’t foresee himself gunning for the kind of contract that would make it difficult for the Steelers, a franchise that relies on extensions due to a philosophy that largely eschews free agency, to keep core performers.

It’s important, too, to understand as quarterback of this team, sometimes you almost have to leave a little bit of money behind for other guys,” Roethlisberger said, via Fowler. “That’s not my job, that’s not my thing to worry about. That’s why I have agents.”

The 36-year-old quarterback is now not debating retirement like he was after the 2017 offseason. He said quickly after the ’17 season ended he intended to play in 2018, and talk of another Steelers extension emerged soon after. Big Ben also grumbled, to some degree, the Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph in Round 3 rather than a player who could immediately help the contending team.

Roethlisberger wants the Steelers to extend center Maurkice Pouncey and right tackle Marcus Gilbert. Both have two years left on their deals and are now seeing their quarterback issue a low-key ultimatum regarding their futures with the team.

I know in two years, Pouncey, Gilbert, there are other very important guys up that I hope get taken care of,” Roethlisberger said. “Because if they aren’t here, I’m not here. That’s the way it is; they are that good.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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5 Key Stories: 6/10/18 – 6/17/18 https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/5-key-stories-61018-61718 https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/5-key-stories-61018-61718#respond Sun, 17 Jun 2018 22:34:17 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=110367 Texas franchises reach extension agreements: The Cowboys now have all of their core offensive linemen locked up long-term. Zack Martin‘s six-year, $84MM deal represents a new standard for guards. He’s signed through the 2024 season and will see $40MM guaranteed. Martin joins Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick in being entrenched on future Dallas lines. Benardrick McKinney will also be anchoring many future Texans linebacking crews. By reaching a five-year, $50MM extension with Houston, McKinney’s the latest member of the eight-figure-per-year club among off-ball linebackers.

Andrew Luck resumes throwing, at long last: The endless saga finally brought some positive developments for the seventh-year passer. The Colts quarterback resumed throwing during the team’s minicamp this week, first on Tuesday with high school-sized footballs and then finally picking up “The Duke” on Wednesday. After missing a full season due to a January 2017 shoulder surgery, Luck is building toward being available for the Colts in 2018. He’s expected to ramp up his work in preparation for Indianapolis’ training camp, when the team expects no limitations from the centerpiece performer.

Holdout core forming: Khalil Mack extended his holdout to minicamp. So did Aaron Donald, as expected. Earl Thomas also didn’t show for Seattle’s, but count David Johnson among those who skipped minicamp in pursuit of a new contract. Taylor Lewan joined some of his 2014 first-round brethren, having observed what Nate Solder‘s Giants deal did to the left tackle market. Odell Beckham Jr. did not take this route, instead attending New York’s minicamp and participating partially. While Beckham said he’ll attend Giants training camp, that’s not a lock due to his extension talks residing at a standstill.

Familiar faces on suspension block: For a second straight June, the Cowboys learned they’ll be without David Irving for the first four games of the season. The defensive lineman this time incurred a substance-abuse suspension after being popped for PEDs last summer. And Martavis Bryant may now run the risk of an extreme ban, considering he missed an entire season for running afoul of the league’s substance-abuse policy. The Raiders are worried their new deep threat is about to be banned. Also banned this week: new Browns tackle Donald Stephenson and free agent defensive tackle Roy Miller.

Chargers considering an Antonio Gates reunion: After declaring via press release the Gates era was over, the Bolts are now open to bringing him back. Tom Telesco said the team has talked to the future Hall of Fame tight end, who would have a bigger role than he otherwise would have thanks to Hunter Henry‘s ACL tear. Los Angeles signed Virgil Green in the offseason but has a big need at the pass-catching tight end spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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PFR Originals: 6/10/18 – 6/17/18 https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/pfr-originals-61018-61718 https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/pfr-originals-61018-61718#respond Sun, 17 Jun 2018 20:27:23 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=110363 The original content and analysis produced by the PFR staff during the past week:

  • With this year’s holdout contingent featuring several big names, I rounded up the respective situations. The 2014 draft class’ top defenders are headlining this group, but David Johnson and Earl Thomas have unique cases as well.
  • Speaking of the ’14 draft class, it appears at least one of its top members will begin the 2018 season with a record-breaking defensive contract. While it’s uncertain if the Rams, Raiders (or Texans, in Jadeveon Clowney‘s case), will go first, Von Miller‘s six-year, $114.6MM contract probably won’t lead the pack any longer. I asked PFR readers which defender will enter the ’18 slate tethered to the most lucrative contract.
  • As teams continue to steadily sign draft picks, Zach Links determined 88 percent of players — including every fourth-, sixth- and seventh-round pick — have signed their rookie pacts. But several big names have yet to reach agreements.
  • We covered three notable moves in our This Date In Transactions History series:
    • Zach looked at the Dolphins’ ill-fated signing of Chad Johnson in 2012. The outspoken wideout arrived in Miami as Chad Ochocinco before reverting to his given name upon getting to work with the Dolphins. But the stay ended without Johnson suiting up for a Dolphins game. His last game ended up being the Patriots’ Super Bowl XLVI loss.
    • Zach then looked at the Falcons’ June 2009 decision to release Michael Vick shortly after he’d been released from prison. One of the best weapons in Falcons history, Vick did not fit with the franchise after Atlanta selected Matt Ryan in the previous year’s draft. This led Vick eventually to Philadelphia.
    • Andrew Ortenberg examined a lesser-known transaction, the Packers’ decision to bring in former No. 1 overall pick Tim Couch in 2004. The Kentucky star ended up being released by both the Browns and Packers that summer.
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NFC West Rumors: Marshall, 49ers, Sherman https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/nfc-west-rumors-marshall-seahawks-49ers-sherman-garnett-taylor https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/nfc-west-rumors-marshall-seahawks-49ers-sherman-garnett-taylor#respond Sun, 17 Jun 2018 19:26:19 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=110360 The Seahawks signed Brandon Marshall only two weeks before their minicamp, but they will have to wait until training camp to see how much the 34-year-old wide receiver has left. Due to a hamstring injury, Marshall did not participate in any team drills at the remaining Seattle OTA sessions nor at the team’s minicamp. Marshall was already coming off an injury, with his 2017 season ending early thanks to ankle surgery, but Pete Carroll said the 13th-year pass-catcher should be ready to go by the time the team reconvenes for training camp.

We’re just making sure that we don’t have a setback on a hamstring that’s recovering,” Carroll said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “We talked about it today – he’s got a solid six weeks; he’ll be well. We need to do a really good job as we re-introduce him back into our tempo and speed and all that, that we don’t overdo it early in the excitement to see what he can do and all.”

Marshall only signed for one year and $1.1MM. Although plenty of incentives are included, only $90K of that pact is guaranteed.

Here’s what’s new out of the NFC West on Sunday afternoon.

  • 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said he experienced Achilles issues during his final offseason workouts with the Seahawks, and the problem worsened in last year’s training camp. Once the regular season began, Sherman said he knew this was a significant issue. “We just kind of babied it as long as we could,” Sherman said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “But you can’t baby it in a game.” The eighth-year corner did not participate in team drills yet with the 49ers but is expected to in camp.
  • Laken Tomlinson has the left guard spot secured, but the 49ers look to have a three-man competition going for their right guard position. And thus far, 2016 first-round pick Joshua Garnett has seen the most time there, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Garnett, who spent all of last season on IR in a partial effort to adjust his body to better suit Kyle Shanahan‘s zone-blocking scheme, split time with the recently signed Mike Person. However, Jonathan Cooper did not participate in San Francisco’s minicamp because of left knee surgery and will be a threat to start opposite Tomlinson this season.
  • Second-year San Francisco slot receiver Trent Taylor is recovering from back surgery, Branch notes. He underwent the procedure several weeks ago to remove bone spurs, per Branch, but Shanahan expects him back by camp.
  • While Josh Rosen is the Cardinals’ quarterback of the future, it doesn’t appear likely he’ll play ahead of Sam Bradford to start this season.
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AFC Notes: Mason, Herndon, Foreman https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/afc-notes-mason-herndon-foreman https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/afc-notes-mason-herndon-foreman#comments Sun, 17 Jun 2018 18:01:08 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=110347 Zack Martin just inked a massive extension with the Cowboys, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com wonders what effect Martin’s contract will have on Shaq Mason‘s future with the Patriots. Mason is not on the same level as Martin or Andrew Norwell — who signed a similarly large deal with the Jaguars this offseason — but he is still a very good guard and should command upwards of $10MM per year when he hits free agency at the end of the 2018 campaign. Reiss is skeptical that New England will pony up that much cash for a guard, so this could be Mason’s last year in Foxborough.

Reiss also observes that other key players, like DE Trey Flowers and K Stephen Gostkowski, are entering the last year of their respective contracts, but he does not offer an opinion as to how those negotiations will play out.

Now for more notes from the AFC:

  • More details have emerged regarding the arrest of Jets‘ rookie TE Chris Herndon. Herndon, a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, was charged with driving while intoxicated several weeks ago, and per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, an eyewitness told New Jersey State Police that an SUV believed to be driven by Herndon was traveling at least 100 mph. Herndon’s SUV flipped after colliding with another vehicle, which caught fire, and the SUV slid approximately 700 feet after initial contact. Eyewitness reports are notoriously shaky, but if this one is accurate, it will not bode well for Herndon, either from an NFL or legal perspective.
  • The Bills‘ WR corps is pretty thin overall, so second-year wideout Zay Jones — whom the team selected in the second round of the 2017 draft — is generally considered to have a stranglehold on Buffalo’s No. 2 wideout job opposite Kelvin Benjamin. However, Jones has dealt with some issues this offseason, as he was arrested in March and underwent knee surgery, and new GM Brandon Beane said the East Carolina product will not be handed anything. During an interview with WGR 550 (via Ryan Talbot of NewYorkUpstate.com), Beane said, “He’s not just going to necessarily go right to the top of the line. He’ll have to earn his way. Part of that will just be just getting his feel. He’s only played with Nathan Peterman. He has not got to play with Josh Allen or A.J. [McCarron] yet. So that bond there will just have to form.”
  • Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle provides an in-depth look at Texans RB D’Onta Foreman‘s recovery from a torn Achilles, which ended his rookie campaign prematurely in November. There is still no specific date for Foreman’s return, and it is unlikely he will be a full participant at the beginning of training camp next month (even the 2018 regular season opener is up in the air at this point). However, the former Texas standout remains confident that he will eventually regain the form that made him a 2017 third-round pick and the heir apparent to Lamar Miller.
  • The Ravens have some depth along their offensive line, part of which is last year’s fourth-round pick, Nico Siragusa. Siragusa suffered a brutal injury last August, as he tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL. Of course, that ended his rookie campaign before it began, but as Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun writes, Siragusa was able to fully participate in last week’s minicamp. He will compete for a backup role this year and could soon become a starting guard or center if he can remain healthy. Alex Lewis, who also missed the entire 2017 season, is expected to start somewhere along the O-line this year — either at left guard, center, or right tackle — but he was held out of minicamp due to back spasms. Head coach John Harbaugh said Lewis should be ready for training camp, but the Nebraska product’s injury history will be cause for concern until he can manage to stay out of the training room for an extended period of time.
  • Tyler Matakevich, a 2016 seventh-round pick, will be given every opportunity to win the Steelers‘ starting ILB job alongside Vince Williams, per Will Graves of the Associated Press. Pittsburgh has a gaping hole at that spot due to Ryan Shazier‘s horrific injury, but the team is confident Matakevich is ready to take the reins. He will need to fend off veteran Jon Bostic, whom the team signed this offseason.
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Latest On Dolphins’ QB Situation https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/latest-on-dolphins-qb-situation https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/latest-on-dolphins-qb-situation#comments Sun, 17 Jun 2018 16:38:19 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=110344 After plenty of offseason speculation as to whether the Dolphins would at least begin preparing to move on from Ryan Tannehill, it is clear that Tannehill will be the team’s starting quarterback in 2018. Who his backup will be, however, is more uncertain.

Over the past several months, Miami re-signed David Fales, signed Brock Osweiler, and claimed Bryce Petty off waivers, and per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Fales has performed much better than his competitors in spring practices. Fales served as the team’s No. 3 signal-caller for much of last season and played most of the meaningless season finale, which easily represented his most significant NFL experience (before that, he had attempted a grand total of five passes since being drafted by the Bears in the sixth round of the 2014 draft).

Despite his lack of seasoning, Fales does have a history with head coach Adam Gase — who was Chicago’s offensive coordinator in 2015 — and the Dolphins liked how he performed in the 2017 finale, when he completed 29 of 43 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown, with his one interception created by a receiver’s mistake. Indeed, Jackson says that when Gase perused the free agent crop of QBs this offseason, he did not see one that he considered better than Fales.

Fales has justified his coach’s faith in him this spring, as he has looked decisive and accurate when making all types of throws. Osweiler, meanwhile, has struggled, and Petty has been inconsistent at best.

However, Gase is not yet willing to name Fales the No. 2 QB just yet. He said, “Right now, I don’t want to go into that because I don’t have a great answer. I want to see guys playing in preseason games, how training camp goes.” Certainly, training camp and the preseason will serve as a much better indicator than OTAs and minicamp, but right now, the Dolphins’ backup QB job looks like it’s Fales’ to lose.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Spring Practice Notes: Jets, Darby, Ebron https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/spring-practice-notes-jets-darby-ebron https://www.profootballrumors.com/2018/06/spring-practice-notes-jets-darby-ebron#comments Sun, 17 Jun 2018 15:41:00 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=110335 Now that mandatory minicamps have wrapped up around the league and players have returned home for a few weeks, the NFL will experience something of a lull until we get closer to the start of training camp in July. In the past couple of days, however, beat writers have shared some lessons learned during spring practices, offered some insight as to what OTAs and minicamp revealed about the upcoming season, and discussed some questions that remain unanswered. So let’s dive right in:

  • Terrelle Pryor‘s injury concerns have been well-documented, but as Darryl Slater of NJ.com observes, the Jets are also dealing with injuries to CB Morris Claiborne and OLB Jordan Jenkins. Both Claiborne and Jenkins are expected to be ready for the start of training camp, while the status of Pryor and starting free safety Marcus Maye is still up in the air. Slater also wonders who will start at OLB alongside Jenkins. David Bass and Josh Martin are candidates, as is Lorenzo Mauldin, though Slater suggests Mauldin is on the roster bubble.
  • Slater also indicates that Henry Anderson may have the leg up in the battle for the Jets‘ starting defensive end position opposite Leonard Williams — New York desperately needs someone to take double teams away from Williams — and that Andre Roberts appears to be leading the competition for Gang Green’s punt returner job. He adds that wideout Chad Hansen has impressed this spring after being a non-factor in his rookie campaign last year.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com also likes what he sees from Hansen, and he says TE Neal Sterling and RB Elijah McGuire are other under-the-radar players to impress for the Jets this spring. Sam Darnold, meanwhile, is very much on the radar, and Cimini says Darnold has done nothing to suggest he cannot be a quality starter in the NFL.
  • The most important lesson learned during the Eagles‘ spring practices, per Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, is that Carson Wentz is progressing in his recovery from an ACL tear and could be ready to go in Week 1. However, as Berman points out, the defending champs have plenty of injury concerns outside of Wentz, though no key players appear at risk of missing any regular season time at this point.
  • Berman also writes that Jay Ajayi is the Eagles’ unquestioned No. 1 running back — in stark contrast to the summer of 2017, when the team was emphasizing a committee approach to the offensive backfield — and he names De’vante Bausby, Nate Gerry, and Dallas Goedert as young talents who have stood out in the spring. Gerry, a 2017 fifth-rounder who converted from collegiate safety to professional linebacker, could compete for a starting LB job this year, Berman says.
  • Speaking of Bausby, Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com is also impressed with the 25-year-old’s work this spring, which may be enough to allow the Eagles to trade Ronald Darby.
  • Seahawks‘ 2018 seventh-round pick Alex McGough stood out this spring and has a legitimate chance to be Russell Wilson‘s backup this year, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Condotta also notes that Seattle’s first-round choice, Rashaad Penny, has looked the part and has also shown improvement in his pass-blocking technique, which will help him see more of the field this year.
  • TE Eric Ebron has been perhaps the most impressive newcomer for the Colts this spring, per Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, who also says 2018 fourth-rounder Nyheim Hines was the most exciting rookie to watch. Hines, a running back from NC State, has the explosiveness and versatility to thrive in new head coach Frank Reich‘s scheme.
  • Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com says Harold Landry, the Titans‘ second-round draft choice this year, is living up to his draft pedigree and that, while he may have a hard time unseating veterans Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo as a starting OLB, he should see plenty of action as a situational pass rusher to begin his career. Wyatt also says Tennessee’s cornerbacks have been the most impressive position group of the spring.
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