Jacoby Brissett

Colts GM: “Jury’s Still Out” On Jacoby Brissett

The Colts aren’t sold on Jacoby Brissett as their starting quarterback. Brissett has one more year to go on his contract, but GM Chris Ballard says “the jury’s still out” on the 27-year-old. 

That’s why we did a short-term deal with Jacoby,” said Ballard. “Jacoby did some good things. I don’t want to just look at the second half of the season and say he didn’t, because Jacoby did some good things. I think as a whole, not just the quarterback position, but our passing game has to improve. Unequivocally. That has to get better. You have to be able to throw the ball to win in this league.

This all jibes with a December report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport – the Colts, armed with the No. 13 overall pick in the draft, could look for a new signal caller. One can’t help but wonder if their QB search could lead them back to old friend Andrew Luck, but Ballard did his best to downplay that possibility when speaking with reporters on Thursday.

Andrew’s retired,” Ballard said. “Do I talk to Andrew? Yes, I do. Haven’t talked to him in a few weeks, I’m sure he’s been busy being a father. But Andrew’s retired, and I think we all need to accept that. That’s where he’s at. He’s retired.”

After being thrust into the starting QB role, Brissett completed 60.9% of his throws in 2019 for 2,942 yards. He also threw for 18 touchdowns against just six interceptions and advanced the ball on the ground a bit as well. Brissett averaged 4.1 yards on 56 rushing attempts in 2019, scored four rushing touchdowns, and picked up 20 first downs with his feet.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Colts’ QB Plans

We recently heard that the Colts could look to add a QB this offseason, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com is hearing the same. Although Indianapolis may not be involved in the free agent or trade market for signal-callers, Rapoport suggests the team could use an early pick on a QB in the 2020 draft.

Starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett had a pretty strong start to the season, but he has struggled in recent weeks as the Colts have fallen out of playoff contention. He is due a $6MM salary in 2020 to go along with a $7MM roster bonus that has already been triggered, but Indianapolis will have plenty of cap space and can afford to carry him on the books even if it selects a young QB.

The 6-8 Colts could find themselves with a mid-first round selection, which may put them in position to land (or trade up for) a collegiate passer like Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa. If they are sufficiently intrigued by such a player, they could easily groom him behind Brissett while parting ways with Brian Hoyer, whose guarantees have already been paid out.

One thing that Colts fans should not hold out hope for, according to Rapoport, is a return of Andrew Luck. “With Andrew, at this point I just kind of take him for face value and we’ll see what happens because only he can decide,” owner Jim Irsay said. “From talking to Andrew, we have to take him at face value for what he says. So [GM] Chris Ballard and I and [head coach] Frank Reich, we have to move forward. And we are with Jacoby and the next draft and thereafter.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Notes: Dak, Brissett, Steelers, Love

Dak Prescott went through an MRI on his injury shoulder Wednesday, Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes. The Cowboys quarterback did not throw in the team’s opening practice this week due to what Ezekiel Elliott said was an AC join sprain. Jason Garrett did not confirm that prognosis but said it was “hard for (Prescott) to function right now.” The fourth-year passer suffered the injury on a scramble against the Rams. Prescott, who has not missed a game in his NFL career, is also dealing with a sprained right wrist and sprained right index finger. The Cowboys have former UDFA Cooper Rush (three NFL pass attempts) as Prescott’s backup, though it would be surprising if the starter missed any time.

Here is the latest from various quarterback situations:

  • The Colts have seen Jacoby Brissett‘s play decline as the season’s gone along, but Frank Reich reaffirmed his commitment to the fourth-year passer as his starter. Reich shot down the notion Chad Kelly would be given significant reps in the final two weeks of regular-season practices, per Mike Chappell of Fox 59. The two-year, $30MM deal the Colts gave Brissett following Andrew Luck‘s retirement guarantees him $7MM via 2020 roster bonus. It would not be a surprise if the Colts added a quarterback in the offseason, per Stephen Holder of The Athletic (subscription required). Brian Hoyer is under contract through 2021 and would bring just a $2MM dead-money hit if released. The Colts are again projected to hold the most cap space in the NFL. There are plenty of impact names set to be free agents, but very few will actually reach the market.
  • Chris Ballard‘s regime has focused primarily on building through the draft, and Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star tweets the Colts should be ready to closely examine passing prospects. Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and perhaps Tua Tagovailoa will be gone by the time Indianapolis’ mid-first-round selection window opens.
  • The Steelers announced they are sticking with Devlin Hodges against the Jets, despite his four-interception performance. Hodges has posted a 38.4 QBR figure, which betters Mason Rudolph‘s league-worst 31.9 mark. The Steelers have not thrown for 200 yards in their past five games.
  • Jordan Love recently declared for the draft. The Utah State prospect was arrested for marijuana possession, according to Will Feelright of the Cache Valley Daily. Police were called to an off-campus apartment complex and arrested two other players for marijuana possession. Love is still on track to play in Friday’s Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl.

Colts QB Jacoby Brissett Won’t Play Sunday

NOV. 10: Brissett is considered week-to-week, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Colts hope Brissett will return for next week’s game against the Jaguars, but nothing is certain at this point.

NOV. 9: Jacoby Brissett has been downgraded to ‘OUT’ for the Colts matchup against the Dolphins tomorrow, reports Stephen Holder of The Athletic (via Twitter). This means Brian Hoyer will take over as the starting quarterback.

Meanwhile, the Colts made a handful of moves to accommodate this lineup change. The team announced that quarterback Chad Kelly (along with wideout Marcus Johnson) has been promoted from the practice squad. To make room on the roster, the team has waived wideout Deon Cain and defensive tackle Kyle Peko.

Brissett injured his MCL during last week’s loss to the Steelers, putting a sudden halt on his breakout campaign. Taking over for Andrew Luck, the 26-year-old has completed 64.8-percent of his passes for 1,649 yards, 14 touchdowns, and three picks. He’s also added another 37 rushes for 110 yards and one score. Hoyer filled in admirably during last week’s loss, throwing for 168 yards and three touchdowns. He’ll be getting his first start since 2017.

Kelly, the Mr. Irrelevant of the 2017 Draft, was suspended for the first two games of this season. After getting waived by the Colts, he subsequently joined the team’s practice squad. Should Hoyer be sent to the sideline, Kelly could see himself playing in his second career game. Johnson, a former undrafted free agent out of Texas, has 11 career receptions for 147 yards and one touchdown.

Cain, a 2018 sixth-round pick, spent his rookie year on the injured reserve as he recovered from an ACL injury. The 23-year-old got into seven games (three starts) this season, hauling in four receptions for 52 yards. Peko, 26, was claimed off waivers from the Bills earlier this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Bengals, Vikes, Cards, Jets

Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green had been expected to return to game action in Week 10 against the Ravens, and head coach Zac Taylor even confirmed as much this morning, per Paul Dehner of The Athletic (Twitter link). However, Green didn’t practice Wednesday after experiencing ankle swelling during Cincinnati’s walkthrough and is now considered day-to-day, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, so it’s unclear if Green will still be ready for Baltimore. Green hasn’t played a single snap this year after suffering ankle damage during the preseason. When he does return, he’ll be catching passes from a new quarterback (rookie Ryan Finley) as he makes his case for an extension.

Here’s more on the injury front:

  • Adam Thielen returned to action last Sunday following a hamstring injury-induced absence and quickly re-aggravated the ailment, but Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer disputes that Thielen came back too quickly, tweets Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. While it’s not apparent if Thielen will play against the Cowboys in Week 10, it doesn’t appear the veteran wideout is dealing with a long-term injury. Minnesota faces Denver in Week 11 before heading to its bye, so the Vikings could conceivably take an overly-cautious approach and hold Thielen out until Week 13, although that could be difficult to do given the tight NFC playoff race.
  • Cardinals running back David Johnson has missed the past two games with back and ankle injuries, but he says he’ll “definitely” be playing when Arizona faces off with Tampa Bay this week, per Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com (Twitter link). With both Johnson and backup Chase Edmonds facing health questions, the Cardinals shipped a conditional sixth-round pick to the Dolphins for Kenyan Drake, who proceeded to rush for 110 yards against the 49ers in Week 9.
  • Le’Veon Bell did not suffer any structural damage to his knee in the fourth quarter of a Week 9 loss to the Dolphins, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. While Bell didn’t practice on Wednesday, he is expected to be ready when the Jets face the Colts on Sunday. Gang Green did promote running back Josh Adams from its practice squad earlier this week, but that move was likely executed as a fail-safe against a possible Bell absence.
  • Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett left Week 9 after incurring a left MCL strain, but he was able to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday, according to Mike Wells of ESPN.com. That news should at least give Brissett a chance to play against the Dolphins on Sunday, although head coach Frank Reich noted it’s not a “slam dunk” that Brissett is available. Indianapolis would turn to veteran backup Brian Hoyer in Brissett’s absence.

Latest On Colts’ Jacoby Brissett

The Colts received good news on their starting quarterback. Jacoby Brissett‘s MRI revealed a left MCL strain, per Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Brissett left Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh in the first half, and an “MCL-ish” hypothesis surfaced Sunday night. Frank Reich confirmed that Monday. The second-year starter has a chance to play in Week 10 against the Dolphins, Reich said (via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, on Twitter), though it would not be surprising to see the Colts exercise caution on this front.

Following Andrew Luck‘s retirement, the Colts signed Brian Hoyer to a three-year deal. He put the Colts in position to beat the Steelers, but an Adam Vinatieri miss dashed those hopes. Hoyer represents better insurance than most teams possess behind their starters, so envisioning the 34-year-old returning to a first-string role against the rebuilding Dolphins would not be difficult. Hoyer has made 37 starts, though none have come since the first half of the 2017 season.

Brissett piloted the Colts to a 5-2 record, performing better than he did in Luck’s stead in 2017. Brissett entered Week 9 with a 14-to-3 touchdown pass-to-interception ratio. He threw 13 TD passes in 16 games two years ago. T.Y. Hilton is expected to miss this week’s Dolphins game, and probably next week’s against the Jaguars as well. The Colts are 0-3 without their top wide receiver over the past two seasons, but the Dolphins certainly represent the best chance for a victory under these circumstances in that span.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Brissett, Conner, Thielen

The Colts have been having a surprisingly strong season after Andrew Luck retired, but everyone in Indy was left holding their breath when Jacoby Brissett went down with a knee injury. After the game, head coach Frank Reich said it was a sprain that was “MCL-ish.” Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like Brissett tore anything. Quarterbacks can usually play through MCL sprains, so it doesn’t sound like Brissett will be on the shelf too long. Brian Hoyer filled in and had the Colts in position to win the game late, but Adam Vinatieri missed a 43-yard kick with a minute to go.

Here are more injury updates from around the league:

  • Steelers rookie running back Benny Snell had surgery to trim his meniscus recently and will be sidelined for 2-3 weeks, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Snell was a fourth-round pick back in April. Speaking of Pittsburgh’s backfield, starter James Conner didn’t suit up against the Colts today, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that he’s in danger of missing next week’s game against the Rams. For now, Jaylen Samuels will continue to gobble up most of the snaps.
  • Standout rookie UDFA Preston Williams suffered a knee injury, casting a damper on the Dolphins’ first win of the season. Despite going undrafted Williams has become a key player for Miami, starting all of their games thus far. The injury is a “sprained knee and the hope is that it’s not more serious,” tweets Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. We should know more about the severity soon. Williams had five catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Jets before going down.
  • Vikings receiver Adam Thielen returned after a one-game absence due to a hamstring injury, and quickly re-aggravated it. He didn’t return to Minnesota’s loss to Kansas City, and while there’s no word yet on the severity, hamstring issues can linger. They’ll likely be more cautious about rushing their star receiver back this time.

Restructured Contract Details: Flacco, Solder, Panthers

With the majority of the NFL beginning their 2019 campaigns tomorrow, a number of teams have slightly tweaked contracts in an effort to open some extra cap space. We’ve compiled some of the notable restructured contracts from this morning, along with some details on some recently-completed deals.

  •  The Broncos converted $17MM of Joe Flacco‘s base salary into a signing bonus, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). The front office also added a pair of voidable years to the contract, thus opening around $13.6MM in 2019 cap space. The veteran quarterback is still on the books for $20.25MM in 2020 and $24.25MM in 2021.
  • The Giants made a similar move with offensive tackle Nate Solder, according to Pelissero (on Twitter). The front office converted $7.5MM of the veteran’s base salary to a fully-guaranteed roster bonus, opening up $5MM in cap space. Solder will still earn the same amount of money over the next two years ($13MM in 2019, $14MM in 2020).
  • One more from Pelissero (via Twitter): the Panthers restructured the contracts of defensive tackle Kawann Short and offensive lineman Trai Turner, opening $13MM in cap space. While the team could use that open money for extensions, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets that the transaction is “more about taking cap space into next year.” Linebacker Shaq Thompson and cornerback James Bradberry are impending free agents, while running back Christian McCaffrey and quarterback Cam Newton could be eyeing lucrative extensions.
  • The Rams converted $2.25MM of punter Johnny Hekker‘s base salary into a bonus, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The move opens up around $1.69MM in cap space, allowing the team is better accommodate the recent extensions for quarterback Jared Goff and tight end Tyler Higbee.
  • Center Mike Pouncey‘s one-year, $9MM extension with the Chargers will guarantee him $5MM in new money, tweets ESPN’s Dan Graziano (via Twitter). The guarantees include a $2.5MM signing bonus and $2.5MM guaranteed salary in 2020 (the full base salary is $6MM). The veteran’s cap number is now $10MM in 2019 and $7.75MM in 2020.
  • Jacoby Brissett‘s two-year, $30MM extension with the Colts includes an $11MM signing bonus, reports Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). The quarterback has a $2MM salary for 2019, $2MM in per-game roster bonuses (for both years), and a $7MM roster bonus that’s guaranteed in March. As Volin notes, the 26-year-old will likely earn around $13MM to $15MM this season before renegotiating next offseason.
  • Josh Doctson‘s deal with the Vikings is for one year at the league minimum of $720K, reports Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (via Twitter). The deal includes no guaranteed money. Following the signing of the wideout and punter Britton Colquitt, Minnesota is now sitting with around $1.17MM in cap space.

AFC South Notes: Tunsil, Brissett, Jack

New Texans starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil is wasting no time getting acclimated to his new team. Coach Bill O’Brien said the former first-round pick is putting in “double time” with regard to getting up to speed with Houston’s communication on packages, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle relays.

“Laremy has been in here all day working with Mike, working with a couple of guys, some of the veteran guys, Nick Martin, guys like that,” the coach said. “Look, at the end of the day, that’s going to be a challenge early on here because he just got here.

“But I think that he’s played a lot of football and maybe what somebody calls an apple, we call an orange. It’s just different terms, but it’s the same blocking assignment.”

Here’s more from the AFC South:

  • Jacoby Brissett, who recently signed a new two-year, $30MM extension, told Mike Chappell of CBS4 in Indianapolis that he negotiated the contract himself. “I don’t like people to BS on my behalf. I try to say it for myself. . . . all you can be is honest,” the Colts new starting quarterback said. “I did my rookie contract, too, so I kind of had the gist of it.’’
  • The details on Myles Jacks new contract are in. The deal pays the linebacker $26.06MM in guarantees, as Pro Football Talk details. That figure is second in the league among inside linebackers (C.J. Mosley).
  • Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline envisions Dion Lewis being heavily involved in the Titan’s offense. Lewis has three years remaining on the four-year, $19.8MM deal he inked during the 2018 offseason.

Colts Give Jacoby Brissett Two-Year Deal

In the wake of Andrew Luck‘s sudden retirement, the Colts are locking up his former backup. Indianapolis is giving Jacoby Brissett a two-year extension worth $30MM, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Rapoport used the term extension, but Stephen Holder of The Athletic clarified in a tweet that it’s actually a two-year deal that will take the place of his current contract. That means Brissett only has one new year on his deal, and he’ll be under contract through the 2020 season not the 2021 season like some initially thought. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe originally tweeted that a deal was close. Per Rapoport, Brissett will get $20MM guaranteed at signing. It’s a big show of confidence from the Colts in their new starter just before the regular season kicks off. Brissett had been set to earn around $2MM in the final year of his rookie deal before this.

The North Carolina State product only attempted four passes last year, but he was the team’s starter for virtually the entire 2017 season when Luck was sidelined with a shoulder injury. That year he racked up 3,098 yards and 13 touchdowns while tossing seven interceptions. He averaged 6.6 yards per attempt and while the numbers weren’t anything to write home about, it was somewhat impressive given the circumstances. Brissett had been traded from the Patriots just before the start of the season, and then suddenly thrust into the starting role.

This time around he’s been practicing with the first-team for months, and he already has a full year in Frank Reich’s system under his belt. He’s got a better coaching staff, and a much better offensive line protecting him, so he should be able to improve on his 2017 results. In the end, the extension could end up working out well for both sides.

Brissett gets some security and a boatload of cash now, and the team ends up getting a huge discount if he shows well. If Brissett were to have a good season and establish himself as a starter, he would’ve gotten far more than this on the open market. Indy also gets to show that they’re all-in with Brissett, and avoid any doubt once regular season action kicks off.

The Colts signed Brian Hoyer to a three-year deal earlier today, but he clearly won’t be a threat to Brissett’s job with this type of commitment. Brissett has come a long way, as he was reportedly about to be cut by New England before Indianapolis traded for him. The Colts considered trading Brissett last summer when Luck made his return, and they’re surely glad they didn’t pull the trigger. The 91st pick of the 2016 draft will kick off his season against the Chargers on Sunday.