Garrett Gilbert

Patriots Add K Nick Folk, QB Garrett Gilbert To Practice Squad

We previously learned that the Patriots had added quarterback Brian Hoyer and linebacker Jahlani Tavai to their practice squad, and the team has made two more notable additions. The Patriots added kicker Nick Folk and quarterback Garrett Gilbert to their taxi squad today, according to the team.

The Patriots parted ways with Folk earlier this week, making rookie Quinn Nordin their new starting kicker. However, the veteran, who connected on 26 of 28 field goals and 30 of 33 extra point attempts for New England in 2020, will stick around on the practice squad. Folk entered the league back in 2007 and spent his first few years as the Cowboys’ kicker, although he’s most well-known for being the Jets’ kicker for seven seasons from 2010-16.

The Cowboys moved on from Gilbert this week, and now the quarterback will land back with his former organization. The 30-year-old spent parts of the 2014 and 2015 seasons with New England. He got his first NFL start in 2020 with the Cowboys, completing 21 of his 38 pass attempts for 243 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

The rest of New England’s practice squad players can be found here.

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Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC East

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BillsDolphinsJets and Patriots moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s AFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Buffalo Bills

Signed:

Placed on IR: 

Signed to practice squad:

Miami Dolphins

Claimed:

Waived: 

Signed to practice squad:

New England Patriots

Claimed:

Waived: 

Signed to practice squad:

New York Jets

Claimed:

Re-signed:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Cowboys Cut Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci

Same as it ever was. Dak Prescott will begin his sixth season as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback, and Cooper Rush is set to be his backup. The Cowboys, however, will part ways with two other quarterbacks — Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci — on roster cutdown day.

Gilbert and DiNucci played roles during Dallas’ dreadful 2020 season, which featured Prescott go down in October and Rush begin the season with Jason Garrett in New York. A year later, the Cowboys have restored their late-2010s status quo.

I just think that he’s shown that he can run the complete offense,” Jerry Jones said of Rush. “Credit to him, he had some tough competition. Those guys didn’t cut him any slack. He’s had a lot of reps – a lot of our quarterbacks have, because of the absence of Dak.”

Rush spent three seasons with the Cowboys, from 2017-19, and will be the only non-Prescott passer on this year’s squad. The Cowboys signed Gilbert off the Browns’ practice squad shortly after Prescott went down. DiNucci arrived in Dallas as a 2020 seventh-round pick. Both quarterbacks ended up making one start apiece last season, one that featured plenty of Andy Dalton, who departed for Chicago in March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Cowboys, Giants, Toney, Bears

Most of the talk about Cowboys quarterbacks this offseason has understandably revolved around Dak Prescott, his new contract, and his comeback from a devastating ankle injury. But flying a bit under the radar is the team’s unsettled backup QB situation. Last year the team had an established veteran backup in Andy Dalton, who ended up becoming the starter when Prescott went down. Dalton is off in Chicago now, leaving Dallas with very little on the depth chart. The team currently has only Garrett Gilbert, Cooper Rush, and Ben DiNucci behind Prescott.

Rush has thrown three career passes, and DiNucci (a 2020 seventh-rounder) and Gilbert have each made one start. That’s led to some speculation the Cowboys could add a veteran backup. Barring a bigger name veteran addition, Gilbert is currently the “favorite” to backup Prescott in 2021, Rob Phillips of the team’s official site writes. Phillips frames it as a battle between Gilbert and Rush without even mentioning DiNucci, who was disastrous in his lone 2020 start in primetime against the Eagles. Gilbert almost led Dallas to an upset victory over the Steelers in his one start last year, and was a star in the ill-fated AAF.

Here’s more from around the NFC as we kickoff the new week and continue to await training camps:

  • Elsewhere in the NFC East, it sounds like the Giants are scheming up various ways to get Kadarius Toney involved as a rookie. New York has Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton already at receiver, so it might be hard for the 20th overall pick of this past draft to get heavy targets right away. That doesn’t mean Toney won’t get touches. The Giants are “motivated to get the ball in his hands, whether it’s out of the backfield, on jet sweeps, screen passes or maybe in the Wildcat formation,” Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com writes. Raanan writes they want him to be a year-one factor, and that “they believe the best way to make that happen is to tap into his versatility.” In other words, use him as a gadget player. The Florida product should be fun to watch.
  • Heading down to the NFC South, Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown may have just had his probation terminated early to close his previous criminal case, but he still has civil case headaches to deal with. In addition to a lawsuit from a truck driver alleging assault that came in mid-May, Brown was apparently hit with another lawsuit later that month. This time, it’s from a sports marketing company alleging that Brown didn’t pay them commission on $2MM in earnings they got him, Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The company, KCB Marketing, is seeking over $100K in damages.

Cowboys To Bench Ben DiNucci

After his rough outing against the Eagles, the Cowboys will bench quarterback Ben DiNucci, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Instead, the Cowboys will allow Cooper Rush and Garrett Gilbert to compete for the top job in practice.

The Cowboys entered the season with one of the best starter/backup situations in the league. Then came Dak Prescott‘s injury, followed by Andy Dalton‘s concussion and COVID-19 diagnosis. That led the Cowboys to DiNucci, who is not quite ready for primetime.

A former UDFA out of Central Michigan, Rush spent three seasons with the Cowboys, spent a bit of time with the Giants, then returned to Dallas in late October. Rush has appeared in five games for the Cowboys, exclusively in a mop-up role. Gilbert, meanwhile, has no NFL starts to his credit — his only first-string pro experience came with the Orlando Apollos, a team in the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.

Between the two, whoever emerges as the better option in practice this week will be the Cowboys’ starter against the Steelers on Sunday afternoon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/13/20

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves. While the Titans are moving some players off their reserve/COVID-19 list, other teams have placed players on their respective coronavirus lists.

Atlanta Falcons

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: DT Marlon Davidson; the rookie defensive lineman tested positive for the coronavirus, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Promoted: CB Tyler Hall

Buffalo Bills

  • Promoted: CB Dane Jackson, LB Andre Smith

Dallas Cowboys

  • Signed off Browns’ practice squad: QB Garrett Gilbert 

Green Bay Packers

  • Placed on IR: TE Josiah Deguara, C Jake Hanson

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: FB Anthony Sherman; the 10th-year veteran did not test positive for the coronavirus, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).

Los Angeles Rams

  • Promoted: S JuJu Hughes
  • Placed on IR: S Jordan Fuller

Minnesota Vikings

  • Waived: Hercules Mata’afa

New York Jets

  • Promoted: CB Lamar Jackson

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Waived: DB Grayland Arnold, DE Casey Toohill

San Francisco 49ers

  • Claimed off waivers from Buccaneers: CB Parnell Motley

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Promoted: CB Ross Cockrell, LB Chapelle Russell

Tennessee Titans

  • Activated off reserve/COVID-19 list: LB Kamalei Correa, CB Kristian Fulton
  • Promoted: LB Darren Bates, WR Cody Hollister, CB Kareem Orr, OL David Quessenberry

Cody Parkey Lands On Browns’ P-Squad

After bringing Cody Parkey in for a workout and a subsequent visit, the Browns are indeed keeping the veteran kicker around.

Parkey agreed to join Cleveland’s practice squad. He represents kicker insurance behind incumbent Austin Seibert, whom the Browns — under the previous John Dorsey regime — drafted in the fifth round last year.

This marks a return to Cleveland for Parkey, who kicked in 14 Browns games in 2016. He made 80% of his field goals that year. The Browns have used different kickers in each of the past six seasons, though Seibert looks likely to snap that streak. He will have Parkey, a 2014 Pro Bowler with the Eagles, representing continual competition, however.

Former Titans third-round wide receiver Taywan Taylor also landed on the Browns’ practice squad. Taylor, who posted 466 receiving yards in 2018, was with the Browns last year and in training camp this year.

Following their Tuesday addition of tackle Greg Senat to the practice-only crew, here is the Browns’ squad:

Browns Get Down To 53

The Browns became the second team after the Panthers to officially announce their initial 53-man roster, waiving 24 players to get down. Here’s everybody they cut, with a recap on some notables at the bottom:

One of the biggest names on this list is Thomas, who the Browns drafted 67th overall in 2018. He barely played as a rookie, but he started eight games and had four sacks last year. The Browns are loaded along the defensive line, so it would’ve been tough for him to find snaps. He’s a definite practice squad candidate assuming he doesn’t get claimed.

Taylor flashed some potential with the Titans and had 466 yards with Tennessee in 2018, but failed to make a dent after getting traded to Cleveland last year. Ratley is another receiver who got cut, and he started three games each of the past two years. The 2018 sixth-rounder from Texas A&M had 200 yards and a touchdown last season.

Gilbert spent last season as Baker Mayfield‘s backup after he lit it up in the ill-fated AAF, but he was made expendable by the offseason addition of Case Keenum. He should get another shot elsewhere or on the practice squad.

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.