Jake Kumerow

Broncos To Aggressively Pursue Aaron Rodgers?

Speculation that the Broncos could push to acquire Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers began to swirl in advance of last week’s draft, though Ian Rapoport of NFL.com indicated that such chatter was overblown. However, subsequent reports suggested that a Rodgers-to-Denver deal could still happen, and those rumors are not going away.

The feeling around the league is that Rodgers will not return to the Packers, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini (video link). Russini adds that Packers brass is “deflated” about the direction this is heading. The team has continued to try and put a good face on the situation and insists that Rodgers will be back in Green Bay in 2021, but that feels like a dubious proposition at this point. And if the Packers ultimately cave and deal the three-time MVP, Russini hears that the Broncos will be the most interested and will present Green Bay with the strongest offer.

Although the Broncos recently acquired Teddy Bridgewater in a trade with the Panthers and are rostering 2019 second-rounder Drew Lock, it’s hard to imagine either player piloting a championship club. The rest of the roster, though, looks strong, and adding Rodgers would immediately make Denver a threat to win the AFC, just like Peyton Manning did nine years ago. So it’s easy to envision GM George Paton doing everything in his power to make that happen.

One way or another, Russini confirms that if a trade is consummated, it will not take place until after June 1, due to the salary cap ramifications. Of course, in addition to those cap concerns and negotiating the best possible deal with the Broncos or any other club, the Packers must also consider their own on-field product. After all, they came devastatingly close to winning the NFC last year, and they will return much of that successful roster in 2021. So will the team be comfortable passing the baton to Jordan Love, the 2020 first-rounder who is at the epicenter of the Rodgers-Packers rift?

Maybe not. Albert Breer of SI.com gets the sense that Green Bay does not necessarily believe Love — who was always considered a developmental prospect — is ready to take the reins. It’s unlikely that there will be any starting-caliber QB options on the free agent or trade markets, so assuming Love is truly not prepared, the Packers will really be in a bind if they can’t mend fences with Rodgers.

In addition to the Love issue, there are other factors contributing to this Spring of Rodgers’ Discontent, one of which is rather surprising. Rapoport says that the “death knell” of the relationship was when the team cut WR Jake Kumerow last September, right after Rodgers publicly referred to him as one of the team’s most reliable receivers (video link). Though Kumerow became something of a cult hero during his time in Green Bay, it would be odd for his release to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, but such is the enigma of Rodgers. For what it’s worth, Kumerow ultimately appeared in six games in 2020, all with the Bills. He recorded one catch for 22 yards.

Rapoport also confirms that Rodgers was hoping for an extension that would cement his status as the Packers’ starter until he chooses to retire, and that he wants a say in personnel decisions. Veteran NFL reporter John Clayton says that the team’s overall approach to the wide receiver position (and not just Kumerow’s apparently calamitous release) has also played a major role in the impasse. Although GM Brian Gutekunst has only been the team’s top decision-maker since 2018, Green Bay’s first choice in each of the last 10 drafts was used on a defensive player, and Rodgers’ frustration has reached the breaking point.

Former NFL agent Joel Corry offers a two-pronged approach by which the Packers might placate Rodgers. The first step, Corry says, would be trading Love, and the second would be giving Rodgers the extension he wants. Rodgers has three years remaining on his current contract, and while it’s exceedingly rare for a team to authorize an extension for a player who is still under club control for three seasons, the Cardinals did provide a blueprint for such a maneuver when they extended DeAndre Hopkins last year.

As Corry notes, Rodgers will want to top Patrick Mahomes‘ record $45MM AAV, and that would mean adding $90MM of new money over a five-year term (the three years on his current deal plus a two-year extension). Ultimately, though, Corry doesn’t believe the Packers will go that route, because he does not believe the team wants to deviate from its original plan of having Love succeed Rodgers when the time is right. Unfortunately for Green Bay, Rodgers might be forcing the team to throw Love into the fire before he’s ready.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/26/21

Here are Tuesday’s reserve/futures deals:

Buffalo Bills

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/25/21

Today’s reserve/futures deals:

Buffalo Bills

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

As a reminder, these are all non-guaranteed deals, usually for practice-squad-type players, to help teams flesh out their 90-man offseason rosters.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 1/13/21

Here are the latest practice squad moves from around the league:

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/9/21

Here are the latest NFL minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Signed to reserve/futures deal: QB/WR Joe Webb

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Saints Claim WR Jake Kumerow

“Touchdown Jesus” has found a new home. After getting cut by the Bills earlier this week, wideout Jake Kumerow has been claimed by the Saints (per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter).

The 28-year-old receiver joined the Bills practice squad back in September, and he ultimately made six appearances for Buffalo, with most of his playing time coming on special teams. Kumerow played 17 total offensive snaps for the Bills, hauling in a single one-yard touchdown reception.

Following stints with the Bengals and Patriots to begin his career, Kumerow became a fan favorite in Green Bay. He ultimately spent three seasons with the Packers, including a 2019 campaign where he collected 12 receptions for 219 yards and one score. Kumerow also went to school at Wisconsin–Whitewater, earning a pair of first team All-WIAC nods.

While Kumerow will presumably continue to play a special teams role in New Orleans, he should also have a chance at some offensive snaps. After all, the Saints currently have five wide receivers (Michael Thomas, Tre’Quan Smith, Bennie Fowler, Deonte Harris, and Marquez Callaway) sitting on IR. Kumerow will have a chance to compete against Emmanuel Sanders, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and Juwan Johnson during the Saints’ regular season finale next weekend.

Bills Release WR Jake Kumerow

The Bills have released Jake Kumerow, per a club announcement. The move comes just days after Kumerow scored his first touchdown reception against the Broncos.

Kumerow has shifted around the Bills’ roster this year with most of his playing time coming as a special teams player. His latest promotion was prompted by John Brown‘s ankle injury — now, Brown is nearly ready to return, so Buffalo had to find room for him somewhere. Kumerow could still circle back to the Bills, though the team has to wait 24 hours to see if any other team puts a claim on him.

You can expect teams to consider claiming Kumerow, who offers a decent amount of pro experience. Before he hooked on with the Bills, Kumerow registered 20 catches for 322 yards and two touchdowns with the Packers from 2018-2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/2/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Buffalo Bills

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bills Place John Brown On IR, Promote Jake Kumerow

Injury issues have interfered with John Brown building on his strong 2019 season. His second Bills slate has included missed games and will now feature at least three more absences.

The Bills are placing Brown on IR. An ankle malady forced Brown to come out of Week 10’s Bills-Cardinals game. Brown already dealt with a knee injury this season, one that forced him to miss two games. He is now guaranteed to be out until at least Week 15.

Buffalo will promote wide receiver Jake Kumerow from its practice squad. After news of his season-ending injury, Cody Ford will join Brown on IR. The Bills are also promoting linebacker Darron Lee from their practice squad. Lee landed in Buffalo earlier this season.

When on the field, Brown has been fairly productive this season. The former Cardinals and Ravens deep threat has four 70-plus-yard games this season. The Bills signed Brown to a three-year, $27MM deal, and the accord preceded the ex-Division II superstar’s second 1,000-yard season as a pro. Brown, 30, caught 72 passes for 1,060 yards and six TDs in 2019, helping foster Josh Allen‘s development.

While Brown has taken an expected backseat to Stefon Diggs this season, he still represents a key component of Buffalo’s passing game. His IR placement will require Cole Beasley and rookie Gabriel Davis to play bigger roles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Josh Norman Tests Positive For COVID-19

Nov. 15: Luckily for Norman, he is asymptomatic, as Ed Werder of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). Norman understands that he cannot play today due to league protocols, but he says he feels well enough to do so. The team hopes to have him back shortly.

Nov. 14: The Bills have run into a COVID-19 issue ahead of their trip to Arizona. Josh Norman tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the team, and this will result in at least four Bills not traveling for their Week 10 game.

Norman, cornerback Levi Wallace, safety Dean Marlowe and tight end Tyler Kroft landed on Buffalo’s reserve/COVID-19 list. The latter three players — deemed as high-risk close contacts — must isolate for five days.

As of now, Sunday’s Bills-Cardinals game remains on as scheduled. The team is set to travel to Arizona later this afternoon. Defensive assistant Leonard Johnson will join the aforementioned quartet of players in not making the trip to the desert.

This is not the first time Saturday news of a Bills positive test emerged to weaken one of their position groups. Dawson Knox tested positive for COVID-19 late last month, and the Bills placed two other tight ends on their COVID list that day. The NFL did not adjust the game time of the Bills’ rematch with the Jets. The league has not changed a game time because of COVID-19 since Week 7. With virus numbers skyrocketing around the country, similar challenges to the one that prompted the NFL to move a Bills-Titans game to a Tuesday night appear on the horizon.

Norman signed a one-year, $6MM deal with the Bills — one of several ex-Panthers to rejoin Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane in Buffalo this offseason — but began the season on IR. He returned for three games but has missed the past three due to a hamstring injury. He had practiced all week and was expected to return against Arizona, however. The Bills also recalled Wallace from IR earlier this season.

They will face the Cardinals’ No. 1-ranked offense with a depleted secondary. The team will promote some reinforcements, however. The Bills elevated Daryl Worley, Darron Lee, cornerback Dane Jackson, wide receiver Jake Kumerow and safety Josh Thomas from their practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.