Garrett Gilbert

AFC North Notes: Burns, Young, Browns

Steelers CB Artie Burns, a 2016 first-round pick, was widely considered to be on the club’s roster bubble this summer, and even after he earned an $800K roster bonus at the end of July, there was still some chatter that he could be sent packing. But as Mark Kaboly of The Athletic writes, Burns has quieted those rumors with a strong training camp, and he excelled in Pittsburgh’s preseason contest against the Chiefs on Saturday. He is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2020 since the Steelers declined his fifth-year option, and his contract year has gotten off to a great start. He now has a legitimate chance to be the team’s No. 3 corner.

Now for more from the AFC North:

  • Kaboly notes in a separate piece that the Steelers may be on the lookout for a veteran TE and/or punter on the free agent market.
  • Ravens slot corner Tavon Young may miss the entire 2019 campaign due to a serious neck injury, but Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says Young is still weighing his options with respect to surgery (Twitter link). Initial reports suggested that Baltimore believes Young should get surgery, which would likely allow him to return at full-strength for the 2020 season, but Young remains undecided. If he doesn’t get surgery and allows the injury to heal on its own, he could potentially return in 2019, but if the injury doesn’t heal, he may miss some of 2020. Either way, he will almost certainly open this season on IR.
  • Ravens guard Marshal Yanda is dealing with an ankle/foot injury and will not play in either of the club’s remaining preseason games, as Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets. However, HC John Harbaugh expects the seven-time Pro Bowler to be ready to go for Week 1.
  • Garrett Gilbert played well in the Browns‘ preseason victory over the Colts on Saturday, but head coach Freddie Kitchens foreclosed any potential chatter of a QB2 battle by declaring that Drew Stanton will be the club’s backup QB (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). Still, Cabot writes that Gilbert’s performance likely earned the AAF alumnus a spot on the roster.
  • Jaelen Strong was signed by the Browns in February, and he has played well over the past several weeks. He found the endzone in Saturday’s game, and Tony Grossi of ESPN.com suggests that the former Texans’ third-rounder is closing in on a roster spot (Twitter link).

Browns To Sign Morgan Burnett

The Browns are set to sign former Packers and Steelers safety Morgan Burnett, as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com tweets. The veteran was not happy with the way he was used in Pittsburgh last year, but he’ll now have an opportunity to compete for the club’s starting job at strong safety. Burnett will receive a two-year deal that can max out at roughly $9MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

The Browns’ filled a need at wide receiver when they acquired Odell Beckham Jr. from the Giants, but they also created a need at strong safety by giving up Jabrill Peppers in the deal. They got even more thin at safety recently when they released Derrick Kindred, so Burnett should have an opportunity to shine in Cleveland. He’ll duke it out with Eric Murray, who just came over in the Emmanuel Ogbah deal with the Chiefs, for the right to play opposite of free safety Damarious Randall, his former Packers teammate.

The club also plans to sign former AAF quarterback Garrett Gilbert, Cabot adds (Twitter link). Before he was displaced by the spring league’s abrupt stoppage, Gilbert spent time with the Rams, Patriots, Lions, Raiders, and Panthers. He has just three career passes in the NFL, but evaluators regarded him as one of the best QBs in the AAF.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Place Taylor Heinicke On IR

The Panthers have a new quarterback. On Wednesday, Carolina placed Taylor Heinicke on injured reserve and signed Garrett Gilbert to replace him. 

Heinicke took over as the starting QB after Cam Newton was shut down due to a shoulder injury. Then, on Sunday against the Falcons, Heinicke fell hard on his elbow in the second quarter. He mustered up the courage to return to the game after a brief exit, but a Wednesday morning MRI revealed a serious injury for the fill-in and it will necessitate a stint on the IR.

With Gilbert in the fold, the Panthers now have two healthy QBs in Heinicke and Kyle Allen. Allen, in all likelihood, will get the start in the Panthers’ season finale.

Gilbert, meanwhile, offers some familiarity with the Panthers’ offense since he was with the team in the in 2017 and the 2018 offseason. For now, he’ll put his opportunity with Orlando Apollos of the AAF on hold for a chance to prove himself on the NFL’s gridiron.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Panthers’ Quarterbacks

It sounds like Cam Newton will be able to avoid offseason shoulder surgery. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Panthers quarterback doesn’t have any structural damage to his throwing shoulder (Twitter link). This means Newton won’t have to undergo surgery (or deal with the accompanying rehab) during the offseason.

While Newton only recently acknowledged his shoulder injury, Rapoport says the quarterback had been dealing with pain through the second half of the season. This clearly had an impact on his production; over his past three games, Newton threw only two touchdowns vs. six interceptions (he had thrown seven interceptions in his team’s previous 11 games). The Panthers decided to shut down their franchise quarterback, allowing Taylor Heinicke to take over as the starter.

Unfortunately, the former undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion also suffered an injury during yesterday’s loss to the Falcons. Head coach Ron Rivera said Heinicke will undergo an MRI on his elbow today (via ESPN’s David Newton on Twitter). The quarterback was briefly knocked out of yesterday’s game after suffering an elbow injury, but he returned and managed to finish the game. He ended up completing 33 of his 53 pass attempts for 274 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. He also added 33 rushing yards.

If Heinicke is unable to go during the team’s season finale against the Saints, Kyle Allen would likely earn the starting nod. The rookie quarterback had a brief cameo during yesterday’s contest, completing all four of his passes for 38 yards. Newton notes that activating Newton “doesn’t sound like an option.” Joe Person of The Athletic tweets that the team could also consider adding signal-caller Garrett Gilbert, who was cut by the team prior to the regular season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/18/18

Here is the latest from the workout circuit, all links going to Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio’s Twitter account (unless otherwise noted).

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Chargers

  • DE Avery Ellis (link)

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 10/2/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

  • T Andrew Nelson (link)

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

NFL Workout Updates: 9/5/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter unless otherwise noted:

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans

Minnesota Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles

Panthers Reduce Roster To 53

The Panthers have finalized their team, trimming their roster to 53 players. The team’s moves are below:

Waived:

Waived/reserve:

Waived/injured:

Terminated vested veteran:

The Panthers also acquired offensive lineman Corey Robinson from the Lions earlier today. The 26-year-old had spent his entire three-year career in Detroit, starting eighth of his 23 games. Carolina sent Detroit a conditional 2020 seventh-rounder in the deal.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/16/17

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

New Orleans Saints

Oakland Raiders

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC South

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC South teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Falcons, Panthers, Saints, and Buccaneers are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers